When Baby Girl was almost two years-old, she was playing with the manger set at my mom's house. The characters were stuffed representations of Mary, Joseph, Wee Baby Jesus and the other usual suspects. Baby Girl kept playacting out scenes in the manger (shepherds giving piggyback rides to camels, wise men playing touch football with the frankincense) and she kept referring to Mary and Jo-puff. We could not stop repeating this. It's super fun to say and there's no cuter couple than Mary and Jo-puff.
I still refer to Jo-puff like this in my head, but he is emerging as a more significant Bible character for me.
Jo-puff (Joseph to the uninitiated) and even if you've never read the story of Joseph, chances are you've seen the musical or heard the tune about his amazing techni-color cloak. Joseph was born a favorite son of his father and then was sold off as a slave by jealous brothers. He eventually became a key cabinet member to the pharoah, was jailed but then freed. All the while, it is clear that in spite of his trials, God has important plans for Joseph. Joseph just needs to have faith.
Broken record much?
I know. And so the broken record spins on. He just had to have faith. It's another adage from the bucket of Hard Things that require So Much More more than just determination, but which people reduce to brief imperatives. Just say no to drugs. Get an 'A'. Ask her out. Get yours today.
Joseph's story always seemed very base to me. He wasn't the interesting oft-conflicted David, fighting his inner demons while seeking after God's own heart. He wasn't Jonah, playing hide-and-seek in a whale. He wasn't Noah with the cruise ship zoo. He was Joseph with the flamboyant coat, and he ended up living with the king and having to forgive the same people over and over and over. So I guess we're supposed to forgive people even if they don't like what we're wearing. Point taken. The end.
Joseph, oh hai.
Recently, I am identifying with my man Joseph, however. Maybe it's because I have been a bit of an ass lately. Maybe it's because I was just telling Loverpants that I've been fighting negativity like woah and am getting in my own way. I've been struggling to prioritize my priorities list. I keep having to ask forgiveness over and over and over and I feel restless and want to know what is the next step from here, because I can't be stuck here. Not in this place. Contentment and I are strange bedfellows, you feel me?
I think about the story of Joseph and the difference between Joseph and me is that he was always looking up and I've been looking down, and that has made all the difference, transcendentalists. Joseph knew and I know that God has His hand over us. Joseph knew like I know there's work we're called to do. But Joseph had a sense of purpose which formed his identity, and I've been looking to my identity to discern my purpose. Joseph looked up and trusted and knew there was a way out of this ditch in the field.
Hey, Joseph. I see you. I see you seeing God and in so doing, I see you seeing your mission impossible.
I want to see what he's seeing right now.
I just started the Restless Project because I have done a Jennie Allen Bible study before and it involved a lot of drawing pictures that appeal to my adult ADD. Also, restlessness is my specialty. If being restlessness were a full-time job, I'd be known as a workaholic and pulling in a mint every month. I thought this study might help. So far, it's been a huge blessing. Let me know if you're going to do it, too, and maybe we can do it together (even remotely?).