As we begin this, the last week of 2010, I am reflecting on the year that is now behind from a slightly different approach, and as I find myself at a stage in my where nothing has happened that I would have expected to happen by this point, I am forced to change perspectives. So often we look back at the events of a year, and every thing that has happened, and the milestones in the past 365 days of life, but these last few days I have been thinking more about my outlook, my emotions, and my attitude as attributed to the happenings of this year, rather than just the events themselves. For after all, half of life is the hand you are dealt, and the other half is how you play.
I have found that over the last few years I have been dwelling too much in the disappointment side of life rather than the joy. Unhappiness comes from focusing on the negative, the void, everything we lack and do not have, where as joy is the polar opposite, focusing on the things we do have.
Life over the past 5 years or so has hit me hard, my body has let me down, my hopes and dreams have let me down, a friend or two have let me down, my entire life’s expectations of where I thought I would be at this point in my life, have been dashed on the rocks and drowned. Somewhere in the fog caused by illness, and in the haze of malaise, caused by feeling like life is just going by and leaving me behind, I have forgotten joy. Now I know a huge part of this is chemical, I have had real physical problems with hormones and brain chemistry to cause a catatonia of emotion, but God can overcome all, … but God. Two of the most powerful words, “But God”. Those two words are the answer to every question we could ever, or will ever ask,… but God.
So in the midst of trial, when my head was down, God was working. Now in no way have I been wallowing all these years, No! In fact they have been years of tremendous growth. I have grown more in faith these last few years than the previous decades. God has shown me amazing mercy and grace, provision unexpected, and His unending love and comfort. I have “popped my head out” so many times this year rejoicing, and feeling so humbled and blessed as God has revealed His hand upon me every step of the way. He gave me a doctor that has helped me where no other doctor could, He has given me a wonderful job and coworkers I truly love. He has lead me to a new church where His truth is taught, and His Name is truly glorified, and He has lead me to new friends with good hearts, and a love for Jesus Christ.
So my resolution for 2011 is to put into action God’s wish for all His people, to live with joy. So many times God has told us He wishes us joy; “Count it all joy when you encounter various trials”, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”, “Be joyful always”. God not only wants us to be joyful, it is a command, who am I to disobey?
I always concentrate on being obedient in action, but I realize I also must be obedient in attitude. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and all the fruits are available to me at all times if I walk in obedience, so I have no excuse not to be joyful. What a freeing revelation!
2011 is the year of rejoicing! For “all things work together for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose.” I am called for His purpose, I am chosen according to His grace, and I know that everything that has happened in my life, whether it is what I have planned or not, is for my good, and I can rest in the fact that He has planned it all. I am on the path of blessing when I seek the Lord with all my heart, and I cannot go astray.