Rejoice in the Lords always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phil 4:4 NIV)
I wouldn’t call myself pessimistic but I do have days I choose to act that way. There are more areas in my life than I’d care to admit where I’ll complete a project with a smile, but nothing more. Some days I find I’m very thankful for what I’ve been given. Others, I can’t seem to stop complaining.
Even if I don’t speak the words aloud, I’ve come to the realization that I have a tendency to whine. A lot. Worse, I have friends who I see struggling under a burden and instead of coming alongside them and helping, I’ll sit down with them and commiserate instead. Not always. But often enough to be embarrasing.
I’ve discovered when I choose to moan rather than rejoice, it doesn’t just affect my day — it spoils the life of every single person who is unfortunate enough to cross my path. Often in ways none of us really even notice.
They say misery loves company. I think we’ve gotten it all wrong.
Misery isn’t looking for company, it’s looking for prey. The more captives it takes, the more it spreads like a parasitic fungus, poisoning hearts, shattering minds, and draining all hope. Left unchecked it can destroy entire homes. Like a parasite, Misery will continue on until it finds a place its cold, clammy tendrils cannot take hold. A place where every attempt it makes results only in a searing burn that causes it to wither and retreat.
Misery can find no purchase in a heart filled with joy.
Just as Misery is a poison to our soul, Joy is the antibody that keeps it going despite all the odds stacked against us.
Joy isn’t pretending everything is perfect when our world is falling apart. It’s acknowledging that even though things seem the worst they’ve ever been we don’t have to face the heartache and hardship alone.
Rejoicing in the Lord isn’t coming to a place of defeat and saying “I have not control, so the Lord can do whatever he wants however he wants…if he wants to.”
Rather, truly rejoicing in the Lord is freely admitting how broken we are feeling, how hopeless our situation looks, and choosing to say, “Father, I trust you in this moment because I can look back on my life and see all the times You have cared for me in the past. You have never once failed me, instead You have taken me places I never would have thought possible. I may not know how You’re provision will look right now, but I have no doubt You will lead me through this moment as You always have. I thank you for how You are shaping my life now, and how You are shaping my future. I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds.”
A funny thing about joy — it’s far more powerful than we give it credit for.
It takes a whole lot of misery coming at me from all sides to drag me down into the pits, but it only takes one seed of joy from a passerby to break misery’s hold on my heart.
Thank you, Lord, for this much needed reminder for me today. As I begin this week, cause me to choose to walk in joy. Guard my heart from the Misery that seeks to destroy all You intend for me to be, and as I see others fighting the same battles, cause me to stand firm beside them, holding them up when they are to weak to continue on their own. Use me to bring Joy into their lives this week. And may that Joy spread throughout my community. Amen.