Incredibly difficult circumstances exist in everyone’s lives. It does not matter who you are, where you live, what’s in your bank account – if you’re breathing, you’ve got some hard places in this life. I know I’ve got my list. You’ve got yours. We could compare notes and wonder if yours is worse or mine is, but I don’t think it is a matter of whose is worse…difficult is difficult. Heartbreak looks different for everyone. It might be a million little things, two or three things or one really long, “no end in sight” trial. What is the same, the common theme in all of these differing landscapes, is that it’s hard. Some days I wake up, like today, and the sun is shining as I am coloring my roots (hair up in a bun, with the roots all glistening with Madison Reed dark brown slathered all over my hairline as I type), and all seems okay – not so bad. Other days, it feels like the list of difficulties is all I see no matter what I try to get myself into a different mindset. I realize that this is normal for all of us. Some days are just better or harder than others. Life, right?.
At first glance you may think I am a “glass half full” kind of woman, but let me be honest here, that is not the whole story. My natural tendency is what’s called a “negative Nelly” (or is it Nellie?). My husband, optimist – go with the flow. Me, pessimist – so NOT “go with the flow.” We do balance each other out, but here is the thing about that negative mindset, it messes with you and robs every sliver of joy and peace. It makes you eventually doubt that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28), and things like bitterness and hardness of heart start being your guide.
The other morning I woke up early in the morning, negative Nelly was making coffee and thinking of all that hasn’t gotten better or all that is not the way I wanted it to be. I sat down on the couch and opened my journal and started to write. I thought about our brain and how it is a muscle and how training muscles is discipline and then the phrase, “The discipline of looking for joy” came to mind. I wrote it down and have not stopped thinking about it since. This blog is named after a life changing story in the Bible in John chapter 4. It is my story. I love this passage. Well, that negative Nelly morning, after writing in the journal, I opened up my daily devotional reading for April 16th and what was on the bottom of the page for “further study and encouragement” – none other than JOHN 4:1-26. I buried my head in the couch and bawled my eyes out right there.
In the quietness of that morning, where no one could see the struggle in my mind and the thoughts of that discipline-joy thing, God saw and pointed to the very story He knows brings me joy. It was like He was saying, “Just look for it, the joy, it is always there to be found no matter what.” Yes suffering will never go away, oh but the joy – the joy – the joy, when we look for it, we find it. I guess that’s how I should end this post. Joy – it’s a discipline. How do we get disciplined in looking for it? Well, I’ll have to follow up with another post as to what that looks like for me and how it’s going, but a good place to start is – simply ask God. Your “how” might look different than mine. Oh, and another fun fact about this story, believe me when I say that this song popped in my head OUT OF NOWHERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDXnqmgtp7sI have heard it in movies before, I think, but I never paid attention to the words. Give it a listen, God didn’t have to be any more clear. That’s all for today! Thank you for reading. Until next time… hopefully I will write sooner for this next post 🙂
With all my heart,