I once bought a greeting card that asked, “Ever have a day when everything went right?” Then inside, the answer: “Yea, me either.” So you’ll recognize my story. I was thinking about how this all happened a few years ago when everything started off on a smooth path then the switch flipped and things derailed. Surely you’ve had those days when life jumps off the track and you have to will yourself into a positive attitude to reclaim your joy. Are you with me here?
One morning I jumped out of bed with my “Yay! It’s going to be a great day!” eagerness. That lasted all of one hour when I remembered that I had to drive the truck. ERGH! (grumble) I don’t like driving the truck … but then I realized, “Hey! Get over it! At least you have an alternate vehicle.” Besides, as a reward I’ll treat myself to Starbucks before my appointment. Anticipation. I was off and running again. OK I can handle this.
I drove up to Starbucks and checked the breadth of this Semi (exaggeration) I was driving and opted to park it and walk in rather than navigate the drive-thru. Inside I got my latte, life is good. Outside, the truck has turned cranky on me and has now forgotten its role for today – to get me safely, and without incident, to my destination. It won’t start. In fact, it won’t even try. Turn the key … nothing! Turn the key again … nothing! We could play this game all day, but I have an appointment. ERGH! (grumble) I can feel the joy needle slipping into the depleted zone. Then I heard this voice in my head say, “Count it all joy”. Come on, Lord. You want me to find joy in this? Are you kidding me? I have to WALK a mile now. Then God said, “Let’s try. Make it a game. It’ll be fun. I challenge you to find 3 good things in this bad situation”. Well alright, but I don’t really see what difference it makes. The stupid truck is still broken and I still have to walk a mile – on the busiest road in the area, and, oh look! The sprinklers, right on my path, are running full blast. But OK. Game on!
- As I was approaching the blasting sprinklers – they shut off. Really? Wow!
- I looked down and realized I had decided to wear flat shoes instead of dress-up heels. Huh. That was pretty cool.
- Instead of the normal oversized, overstuffed, spilling-out-of-the-top bag, all I had to carry was my purse and a folder.
I got to my appointment, all intact, not wet from sprinklers, no bumps, bruises, or wear and tear on my emotions. I even pulled out all the information I needed without needing to trek back to that cranky old truck. Relief! Thankful!
I enjoyed the latte on the trip past the now silent sprinklers, in my flat shoes, carrying only my purse in one hand and Starbucks in the other. Balance is good, right? By the time I was at my destination (on time), joy was back. Did the game fix my truck? Not really, but it fixed me. I had to get the inside right, so the outside would come out right too.
Oh – and here’s the kicker. When my husband, said owner of cranky truck, went to pick it up later? It started right away! Really, God? Seriously? And to that, He reminded me that He has me in the palm of His hand and he teaches me what is best for me, when I need to learn it. (James 1:2 – Consider it pure joy ….)
That story is insignificant to the trauma in many lives, and I don’t pretend to minimize what you may be going through. Life is tough. I decided to tell that story because we all have to decide. Will what is happening now make me bitter or make me better? No matter what knocks you off track. No matter what your circumstances today. Seek joy. In this life, we have to look for the slivers of hope and glean as many positive fragments as we can so all those thoughts plant seeds of joy. Finding something good in our mess is the best survival mechanism. It isn’t easy. It’s worth it.
On days when nothing fits and life is broken, I read Philippians 4. Be joyful! Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation, with a thankful heart pray and ask God to take your burdens and your worries. The peace of God, which we humanly can’t understand, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Ask God to infuse your mind with thoughts of whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—thinking about such things will quiet your anxiety….. And the God of peace will be with you.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:4-9).
This charming post was written by my friend Jane Anderson, who brings much joy and blessing into my life! Jane is a Christ-follower who reads, writes, and lives encouragement as her ministry. If you’d like to read more of her writing, you can access her blog here:http://refininggrace.com