It felt like one of those kinds of days…
Everything seemed off from the moment I saw the sunlight peeking through the blinds. I woke up with a splitting headache after a night of little sleep, and the kids were having squabbles left and right. A cup of milk was spilled all over the freshly washed table runner and an unexpected, but urgent, obligation arose that had to somehow be fit into the already full schedule. And upon going to start a load of laundry from our bulging baskets, I discovered a forgotten load in the washer from the day before that had to be re-washed. It seemed that every way I turned there was reason after reason for why I had every right to be irritable, impatient, and grumpy. But as I was rushing around, not doing a great job of keeping the grumbles out of my spirit, a verse suddenly came to the forefront of my mind – one that we’ve memorized as a family and have reminded the kids of over and over again.
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps.118:24).
In that moment I knew I had no excuse for letting the circumstances of the day dictate my actions and reactions. Because of Jesus, I had every reason to rejoice and be glad. He had given me, in His mercy and kindness, another day to live for Him, and had provided all I needed by His Spirit that lives in me to walk in joy and gladness. And the only thing that would keep me from that was … me. Would I turn inward and trust in the deficiency of joy I found in myself? Or would I turn my eyes to Jesus and see the abundance that was waiting for me?
In Jesus, we are given all we need to live a supernatural life. When God calls us to live in obedience to Him by being joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, loving, or anything else – He knows it’s impossible to do this in our own strength. Jesus gave Himself on our behalf to save us from our sin and an eternal punishment, but also to enable us to obey Him today. This includes how we respond to every situation and circumstance we face in life, no matter how good or bad it may be. As Paul says in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
So that day, as I chose to walk in obedience to the Lord, something changed. No, my circumstances stayed the same. But my emotions began to align themselves with truth. Rather than feeling swallowed up by all the little things, I could recognize and smile at the many ways God was showing His goodness and faithfulness to me. I could giggle at my children’s adorable antics, take delight in the beauty of the little plants growing in my kitchen window, and enjoy the unexpected opportunities to interact with the cherished people God has placed in my life. It wasn’t because I somehow mustered up the willpower to turn my attitude around. No, it was because my focus was now on Jesus.
No matter what you may face today, remember that it is in Jesus’s presence where the fullness of joy is found (Ps.16:11). And as you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you (Jms. 4:8). Look to Him, and you will never be ashamed (Ps. 34:5).
I am so excited to hear Leslie’s session “True Happiness – How to Find What Everyone Else is Searching For” at the upcoming Set Apart Conference that goes in-depth into this very topic. And we hope you’ll join us, too! For more information on the conference, either in-person or via simulcast, go to setapart.org/the-conference.