It was the Friday after Thanksgiving, and naturally I woke up starving, since of course I did not stuff myself silly the day prior with turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, and peanut butter chocolate balls! What makes you think I would do that?

Mornings with my family–particularly around the holidays–are always slow, as we are a parliament of night owls. (Yep, a group of owls form a parliament. Look it up.) So breakfast, a/k/a brunch, often doesn’t roll around before nine o’clock. This particular morning our options consisted of leftover turkey and rolls, or blueberry muffins and eggs.

So of course, I chose pumpkin pie.

Maybe for you having dessert for breakfast isn’t such a big deal. After all, a donut or cinnamon roll is as sweet as any piece of pie. But I don’t eat donuts or cinnamon rolls, so for me, I might as well have set up a Christmas tree on the fourth of July, or gone to Wal-mart in my PJs! (Which some people in my town do no matter what they eat for breakfast.)

Not long ago I probably would have turned up my nose at someone who chose such an impractical, unhealthy option to start their day. I’m a very logical person, so common sense usually wins the day over fun and games. No, I would have never literally made a face at someone, or let them know what I was thinking, (unless, of course, it was one of my brothers!) but those critical thoughts were there nonetheless.

If life in general and 2015 in particular has taught me anything, it’s that my need for God’s grace grows more apparent every day. But it doesn’t stop there. The grace that He has lavished on me I should in turn impart to others. What I have been freely given I should freely give. (Rom. 12:3)

There are two phrases that have unofficially become my motto in the last year. One is, “There’s always more to a situation than what I know.”

In other words, give ’em some slack! Show some grace! I may think it’s uncalled for when someone gets bent out of shape over spilled milk, but what I might not know is that this is the third glass in thirty minutes they’ve cleaned up.

We could all use a little more grace, so consider letting that spew out instead of a sour attitude or harsh words.

The second phrase is a bit more jovial: “I’m always up for an adventure!”

As I work on living out motto #1, I’m able to lighten up and enjoy life more. Hidden beneath my rigid, sensible front is a playful, carefree side. This combination of sensibility and spontaneity is confusing at best and disastrous at worse, but it’s how God made me, because He is a God of order as well as creativity.

So what kind of motto is one which encourages you (as Mrs. Bennett would say) to “take every opportunity of enjoying yourself”? Perhaps for the happy-go-lucky, thriller-seeking, Lydia-Bennett-types, maybe not such a good one. But for someone in search of joy who takes life way too seriously and could afford to lighten up and show a little more grace . . . in other words, me . . . it’s spot on.

All throughout Scripture are instructions to rejoice, to sing for joy, and to celebrate with feasting and fellowship.

In fact, in the Mosaic Law, there’s list of conditional blessings and curses which God set upon the people of Israel for their obedience or disobedience, respectively. One of the very things God warns them of is failing to serve Him with joyfulness and gladness of heart, (Deut. 28:47-48) so clearly some of us need a little prodding when it comes to turning our frowns upside down.

Of course, there is a time and place for having fun which should be defined within a Biblical framework.

After all, the same Apostle which taught that “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,” (1 Tim. 4:4) also stated a few verses earlier that we are to “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Tim. 2:1-2) (Which makes me think of another unofficial motto of mine, All things in moderation!)

My intention is not to give you a treatise on the subject, or to set the standard on joviality, propriety, and a healthy breakfast menu. I simply am sharing what God used this past year to stretch and grow me.

So in His classroom of one I’ll remain, striving to be serious about God’s grace while finding joy through freedom in Christ.

And I might have another piece of pie while I’m at it.

How ’bout you? What has God taught you this past year, and how do you plan to incorporate those lessons learned into the new year?

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