Aunt Jimsy’s Philosophy

If you know me at all, you know I love to throw out a book quote that just fits the situation I’m in. My family has heard me quote A.A. Milne and Dr. Seuss way more than they’d like, I’m sure. And no matter what we’re discussing, the chances are I’ll throw in a quote and then smirk and say which book it’s from.

So, naturally, when I turned twenty, this quote came to mind:

To think that this is my twentieth birthday, and that I’ve left my teens behind me forever,” said Anne.…
I suppose you feel kind of sorry,” said Aunt Jamesina. The teens are such a nice part of life….”
“…Yes, I’m sorry, and a little dissatisfied as well. Miss Stacy told me long ago that by the time I was twenty my character would be formed, for good or evil. I don’t feel that it’s what it should be. It’s full of flaws.”
So’s everybody’s,said Aunt Jamesina cheerfully. “Mine’s cracked in a hundred places. Your Miss Stacy likely meant that when you are twenty your character would have got its permanent bent in one direction or ‘tother, and would go on developing in that line. Don’t worry over it, Anne. Do your duty by God and your neighbour and yourself, and have a good time. That’s my philosophy and it’s always worked pretty well.

Anne of the Island, L.M. Montgomery

I always used to skim over that latter part with a little mental shake of my head. But this time, I actually sat and thought about it.

It’s quite true that when you get to be about twenty, your character is pretty set. As Montgomery notes…

It’s such a solemn thing to be almost fourteen, Marilla. Miss Stacy took all us girls who are in our teens down to the brook last Wednesday, and talked to us about it. She said we couldn’t be too careful what habits we formed and what ideals we acquired in our teens, because by the time we were twenty our characters would be developed and the foundation laid for our whole future life. And she said if the foundation was shaky we could never build anything really worth while on it.

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Later on, she adds:

It’s a serious thing to grow up, isn’t it, Marilla? … I feel it’s a great responsibility because I have only the one chance. If I don’t grow up right I can’t go back and begin over again.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, L.M. MONTGOMERY

And the Bible itself remarks: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Of course, there is always time to change. Twenty, thirty, fifty, seventy-five… it is never too late to begin changing your character to be more Christlike. That is the power of God. However, as I said earlier, it is true that by the time you’re twenty, you’ve gone a long way in building your character. Habits you make as a young person tend to stay.

So yes, character is bent in a certain direction already, and it’s pretty flawed.

But what about Aunt Jimsy’s philosophy? “Don’t worry over it, Anne. Do your duty by God and your neighbour and yourself, and have a good time.”

Don’t worry over it.

There’s a fine line in worrying and worrying. Being obsessed with yourself is not good. What is also not good is spiralling into depression by focussing on all your bad points and deciding you’re a horrible, worthless person. That is not a biblical way to live. God calls us beloved; therefore, we are loved. We are sinners, yes, but we have been cleansed by His grace; we are new creatures and we are His temple. Also, if God gave us life, He gave it for a reason and we should rejoice in that life and use it for His glory, not wish it away. The book of Job is a good example of this. (And I intend to do a post on it soon.)

So, while you want to be aware of your character’s flaws and work to fix them, you also don’t want to enslaved by them and filled with worry over your own failings. (Anxiety, by the way, is not a virtue.)

Do your duty by God and your neighbour and yourself.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Matthew 22:37-40 kjv

Doing our duty by God is obeying His commandments. His commandments circle back to loving Him. And if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. It’s really quite simple. The whole Bible tells us God’s commandments; we have only to follow them.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

1 John 5:2-4 KJV

Doing your duty by your neighbour is loving your neighbour. (Which, incidentally, is a commandment of God, and obeying it is loving God.) Love means doing what is best for your neighbour. Which means doing what is right.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 13:9-10 KJV

But what about doing your duty by yourself?

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19

Doing your duty by yourself is taking care of yourself. Feeding yourself properly; keeping your body in good shape physically; keeping your mind healthy, etc.

I have a secret for you: when you obey God’s law, you are taking care of yourself.

When you obey God’s law, your mind is happy and at rest. Your body is well cared for. You are physically and mentally as well as you can be. I am NOT saying that you won’t have any physical or mental struggles. What I am saying is that obeying God is in your best interest. If we obeyed all of His laws, we would not be consumed with anxiety (Philippians 4:6, Colossians 3:15), we would not be overweight (Galatians 5:22-24), we would sleep well (Psalm 127:2)… We would be truly joyful, and joy, as we all know, is good!

And now for the last one.

Have a good time.

Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

ECCLESIASTES 9:7-9

I recently read the book of Ecclesiastes and I was struck with the message he has. I’ll probably do a post on that later on, too. But for now…

Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.”

Ecclesiastes 11:9-10

Be joyful! Rejoice in the life you have been gifted! Do what makes you happy! Live a good life! You only have one life and you are only young once. Make it a good time.

But how do you have a good life?

Ah, that’s where it comes together.

You have a good life when you walk in God’s ways and obey His commandments.

THAT is when you are truly filled with joy.

If we obey God, we won’t spend our days drowning in misery. We’ll spend our days being joyful.

Yes, we can do good things that make us happy. But true joy comes from doing what is right. No matter what, we can have a good time if we are doing right.

And, incidentally, God commands us to be joyful. And we bless our neighbours by being joyful.

You see how it all comes together?

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:13

And what are His commandments? To love Him, and to love our neighbours, and take care of ourselves, and to be joyful.

Let me tell you: doing your duty is the best way to have a good time.

Let our hearts be always cheerful;
Why should murm’ring enter there,
When our kind and loving Father
Makes us children of His care?

With His gentle hand to lead us,
Should the pow’rs of sin assail,
He has promised grace to help us;
Never can His promise fail.

When we turn aside from duty,
Comes the pain of doing wrong;
And a shadow, creeping o’er us,
Checks the rapture of our song.

Oh! the good are always happy,
And their path is ever bright;
Let us heed the blessed counsel,
Shun the wrong and love the right.

Always cheerful, always cheerful,
Sunshine all around we see;
Full of beauty is the path of duty,
Cheerful we may always be.

(Fanny J. Crosby)

May you always do your duty & be happy, friends. ❤

Published by Katja L.

Hello! :) I'm Katja. I'm a Canadian bibliophile, book reviewer, writer, and child of God. I love too many things to name, but among them are chocolate, heirlooms, history, fancy handwriting, grammar & punctuation, laughter, tearjerking books, lists, organized bookshelves, pink roses, flowing skirts, hymns, and pretty much anything old-fashioned, beautiful, & classy.

12 thoughts on “Aunt Jimsy’s Philosophy

  1. “Anxiety, by the way, is not a virtue” – I love that! Too often we feel that “religious anxiety” is kind of a good thing . . . at least, I know that’s something I’m only learning to turn from now! 😉

    And that quote from Anne of the Island . . . yes, I guess we do set the direction of our lives by the time we reach twenty, but I would say that I’ve done the most growing SINCE twenty, even though the direction was set by then 😉

    And definitely, my friend, you ARE beloved, no matter what faults you may see in yourself! God loves you and so do we!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it hit me all of a sudden—wow. Anxiety is actually a sin!
      I agree with you, haha! But I did create a ton of BAD habits as a teen that’ll be hard to combat XD
      Love you girl! The same to you <333

      Like

  2. This is such a sweet post, Katja. And… congrats on turning twenty! Yay! But honestly, this post was so nostalgic and beautiful. I adore those quotes. I don’t know if you have seen them yet, but PBS made 2 Anne of Green Gables movies, starring a girl named Ella Ballentine (they’re on DVD). I think you would enjoy them! Love you girl! Email me any prayer requests you have! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, dear!!! I’m so glad you liked the post! I’ve never seen any movies, but I’ll make a note of those. Thanks for sharing them 🙂 Love you too! I’ll do that!

      Like

  3. Oh dear, I LOOOOVE that quote from Aunt Jimsy, and I think of it often. I 100% agree with this post! I liked how you said that loving God means obeying His commands, and obeying His commands is loving Him. Absolutely fantastic post! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

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