Author’s Note: This is a serious post. Taking a siesta from goofball for the day!
Sometimes joy comes from circumstances. I’ve heard the term “circumstantial joy” thrown around and I think that’s as good a term as any to use. I LOVE circumstantial joy. Love. It. It feels so wonderful, doesn’t it?! When you win the trophy, finish the race, lose that last pound, buy your friend a cupcake and see their smile, finish a tough task at work, pay your bills, make people happy, and so on. Seriously, I love it. I thrive off of it. But where does that leave me when the circumstances are a little less in my favor? To be honest, it used to leave me balled up on the couch. Actually, I would like to think my “couch days” were before I realized what Jesus had done for me. But that would be a lie. (That stupid Satan sneaks up on you sometimes!) But I do know that my couch days are getting less because of what Jesus did for me.
It is so easy to let yourself get caught up in what is going wrong with life. Work is hard, work is boring, boyfriend/girlfriend/spousal issues, death, financial trouble, depression, loneliness, and so much more plague this world in which we live. When you’re in the midst of a storm, being preached to doesn’t help (which I hope this post is not!), overused scripture are difficult to swallow (maybe this is just me?), and knowing that other people have more problems/are in worse situations than you just doesn’t cut it (I’m a selfish, selfish creature). We’re in our own little bubble of doom and gloom and this ain’t no easily popped bubble, my friends! This is, like, a pure steel bubble. Yeah.
What do you do? Where I used to cling to Nyquil, relationships, and the ever so frequent panic attack, I now cling to God. What used to put me down for the count is now palatable through Jesus and the things and people he places in my life. He provides:
- Time with Him to dive into. When I’m going through a tough time, I can’t skip out on time with God. I really like to read Job during this time because Job had it pretty bad and I have it better than Job so I had better not flake on God. Satan was certain that Job would curse God if he took away all of his blessings but no siree, Job was extremely bummed, but he did not “curse God and die” like his wife suggested (Job 2:9). Paul and John are also both big advocates on this whole joy in the midst of suffering theme.
- Dive into community. I’m a people person. I neeeeed people and God not only knows that about me but made me that way. Everyone is different – some friends of mine are restored by alone time and that is great but I am the total opposite. Although a people-needer, I seriously cannot stand talking about myself in groups but by doing this with my Community Group, I am able to get some much needed godly wisdom on whatever my situation is.
- Realize that we get the victory in the end. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
- I run. God gave me legs that work and lungs that allow me to breath in and out so I use these gifts to run, talk to God, and decompress.
No, no, I’m not handing out a bona fide formula for a successfully happy life by any means. I’m still figuring this out myself. Some struggles are so bad that it’s all you can do to cling to God and wake up every morning and drink water and go to work and continue life for a while. Or be like Job and curse the day you were born… but don’t do that because it makes me sad to think about. To be 100% honest, sometimes I still find myself curled up in the fetal position, alone, self-pity radiating from every cell in my body. It’s not pretty. But then I remember (and that’s the tough part – the remembering) that God’s got me. He’s walking with me, and even carrying me when I need it, every step of my journey.
That’s my story of Grace that I strive to live out each and every day – ditching my pride, self-reliance, and leaning on the world to allow God to carry me in His reliable, capable arms.
“Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? -Job 40:7-9
and so it goes,