I have been reading through Ecclesiastes in my quiet time lately. The first two verses are, “The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem. ‘Absolute futility’, says the Teacher. ‘Absolute futility. Everything is futile’. ” (Ecclesiastes 1: 1-2 CSB). OK! Well, what a way to start off a new year! Everything is futile (the NIV translation uses “meaningless” in place of futile). This theme continued through the next several chapters, and I gotta be honest- it was a little depressing, but I kept on, and several phrases have stood out to me so far (I’m currently on chapter 9): “chasing after the wind” (1:14), “fear God” (5:7), “gift of God” (5:19), and “the enjoyment of life” (8:15). One of my goals for 2019 is to be happier. I’m not an unhappy person, but I deal with a lot of worry and anxiety over many, many things. So, reading through Ecclesiastes is helping me see things through a different lens. If things on this earth are meaningless and futile they aren’t worth the worry! I love the words used in the New Living Translation version in chapter 1, verse 14, spoken by King Solomon, “I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless- like chasing the wind”. Chasing the wind paints such a vivid picture for me. Lately, I have tried to look at things and determine if they have Kingdom or Eternal consequences. If not, then it really is meaningless and futile. Later, in chapter 9, King Solomon advises, “7. Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do….9a. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love”. Life is hard. Satan wants to keep us down and keep our focus on the muck and crap of the world. He “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10 NIV). The car doesn’t start, your battery dies, the school nurse calls you at work….again, taxes are due, the dog is sick, the house is dirty and you haven’t been to the grocery, the report is due, or maybe there are things much, much worse you are facing. But God LOVES you. He loves you so much He sent His Son. The Creator of the universe, who spoke the stars into existence and tells them where to hang in the black abyss of space knows the exact number of hairs on your head! He blesses you with gifts everyday! I want to be the one who seeks them out. Now, with this next advice, be mindful that I’m not advising you to go crazy with your Visa at DSW. We are called to be good stewards with the gifts God gives us. But here are some things I’ve been thinking about. Go to the nice restaurant on your anniversary. Wear your “good clothes” on an average day. Kiss your spouse. Kiss your kids. Tell them you are proud of them. Tell them God is even more proud of them. Enjoy the little moments that make you HAPPY!! Savor the little victories and moments where you feel His sweet blessing being poured out on you! “God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past” (Ecclesiastes 5: 20 NLT). Take the vacation. Give priority to God and relationships. And for goodness’ sake, Life is short, buy the shoes!