You know those times when it’s a struggle to find happiness even when, by most standards, you should be happy? You know, those seasons or days in life when things are going well enough and nothing bad in particular is happening, but at the same time nothing extremely great is happening either? It’s as if life just seems to be on coast mode-- an endless repeat of the same routine. Of course, It’s easy to be happy when something phenomenal happens, but what about the mundane seasons, the seasons of waiting, the seasons when your prayers don’t seem to be getting answered and dreams aren’t coming true? Those are the times in life when if you let it, despair easily takes the place of joy.
I’ve found myself in that place of despair too often to admit. I never stopped having faith, hoping for the best or attending church, but then again, we all know plenty of Christians who have faith and go to church, yet still live unhappy and discontent lives.
I started to wonder why I kept finding myself in this place where feelings of boredom, discontentment and being unfulfilled ruled my life. I wondered what was wrong with me. How could I have so many great things going for me, yet still be unhappy? How was this cycle repeating when I knew the Truth and loved Jesus?
Eventually I caught on. I realized that the same exact things happened each time to get me to that place, and I was allowing it to happen every time. It always started (and still does try) with my lack of patience for His timing and process. When things weren’t happening the way I thought they should or as quickly as I thought they should, I would slowly let my discontentment lead the way. And it led right into checking out on social media or TV, staying busy and not making time with Jesus a priority. In turn, my joy and motivation for much of anything started lacking. Once my joy was gone and discontentment filled my soul, thankfulness was nowhere to be found.
Once I recognized the pattern, I started to make changes. Through it all, I found that being intentionally thankful made the biggest impact.
It helps to remember we give thanks to God not because of how we feel, but because of who He is.
Practically speaking, I made effort in various ways.
Choosing stillness instead of busy,
Speaking positive statements instead of complaints,
Posting His promises around my home and saying them out loud,
Choosing a great book or His word over social media,
Going for a run while listening to worship, podcasts, and praying.
Eventually, His truth becomes our new reality and He fills us with true and lasting joy. The kind of joy nothing else in this world can offer. It really is the most fulfilling way to live.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
Could I encourage you today to find joy even in the process, the waiting and the not so exciting seasons?
God is working in our waiting.
There is purpose in the process.
The harder seasons are the ones that make us ready for the great ones to come!