“Are you happy? Are you living the life you deserve? Go where the grass is greener. You deserve better. Live while you still can. ” Have you ever heard these phrases? Perhaps in a moment of turmoil a well-meaning friend has tried to comfort you. It’s pretty familiar, it sounds good, but it is a very enticing path to disaster. Happiness is fleeting. A feeling that can be chased for an entire lifetime, only to be disappointed. Beyond that, chasing after happiness can be selfish. But did you know you can have joy? Joy is so much more fulfilling, and it is also possible to have it in all circumstances, no matter what happens.
Years ago, well-meaning friends would tell me to do whatever it took to be happy. It was great to hear, because everything else was the problem. When I looked at the problems in my life, there was a simple fix. Take what I want, do what I want, leave who I want, quit the job I hate, I deserve it. I deserved happiness right? The only problem was that it was misleading. It lead to destruction. The pursuit of happiness leads to a dead end. Joy on the other hand is empowering and fulfilling. It is a gift, an attitude, and a choice. So how do you find joy?
Joy begins with a mindset, a belief, that seeps into the way you experience life. What if pain were meant to refine you? What if suffering were meant to strengthen you? What if dead ends were meant to create faith? What if all the bad was meant to become something beautiful?
James 1:2-4 Count it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Count it pure joy. Joy, when you face trials. I don’t know about you but this is exact opposite of what I feel in the midst of trials. Frustration, anger, sadness? This is not fair? That’s more like it. And yet we are to count it joy. Why? Why can’t we just avoid and run from trials and suffering?
There is so much more to gain and learn from our trials. There is so much growth that is ready to happen. And if we are ready to trust God, learn, and be patient, the end result is simply beautiful. Whatever trial you may be facing today, remember that there is a bigger picture, that there is a rainbow after the storm, remember that one word, Joy, and know that it is in you.
light in the darkness, hope in the storm,
strength in suffering, pushing through to overcome.
It seizes each moment, like a butterfly in the wind,
knowing time is short, and that love is unending.
It is the smile that radiates through tears,
revealing the rainbow of promise,
covering over broken ones; shattered hearts,
turning dreams into an unfathomable reality.