This week has been filled with this feeling of being stuck, stuck in the hustle of everyday life, stuck in the expectations that others have for me, stuck in a “poor-me” attitude. I tend to be a bubbly person, but this past week I have found myself holding a less than positive outlook.
Have you ever read a verse and thought, “Why did that have to be written in the Bible?” That was my exact thought as I was going through my devotion time. I was reading through Philippians 4:4-9 which begins by saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (NIV). This verse is non-conditional. There is no room to say, ‘rejoice only when it is easy to see the joyful things in life.’ It simply says, “rejoice always,” because there is always joyed to be found around you, even when it is hard to find.
Paul’s writing in this passage caught my attention, because he doesn’t just stop when he tells us to rejoice always. He keeps writing and reminds us to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil 4:6) It is not just about accepting the joy that Christ is constantly holding out for us to take in our daily lives, but also about choosing to surrender to Him. We are called to give all of the stress, anxiety, expectations, and everything that is overwhelming us to God in prayer; and when we take this step, we are promised a “peace that transcends all understanding.” (Phil 4:7)
When I finished this devotional, I recognized that I would have to surrender all of the negativity and stress that had been consuming me and start focusing on the joy. If I am being honest, I was not thrilled with this realization. It was not easy to switch from a “poor-me” attitude to a joyful one. So, I began forcing myself to say what was joyful in each situation, specifically in the things that were making me stressed out. I started saying aloud to myself, “I find joy in the fact that I have so many projects, because it means that I am getting an education. I find joy in being worried about the expectations in my work, because it means I care about what I do. I find joy in having limited time, because I like talking with people and they like talking with me.” It wasn’t immediate, but as I kept verbalizing the phrase ‘I find joy,’ it slowly became real. This pursuit of joy does not stop there; it is continuous battle of choosing joy in every situation and choosing to surrender in order to find the peace and joy that Christ offers me.
This week I am continuing to ask myself, “How do you find joy in this moment, Lucy?” I invite you to do the same!