Today I Affirm…
"my circumstances can shape my joy – both good and bad. It's all about how I look at things. Through it all, I am blessed beyond measure." – Alex Elle
Words: "Beyond," "Circumstance," "Joy"
Ooo, this is a particularly good topic to write about, especially this week. Since Monday, this week has been sort of "bleh." I normally try to stay in a positive mood despite what's going on around me, and it's not that anything extremely negative has happened to cause me to be in a sort of funk, but I've just been feeling a little down this week. Work has been a little harder; we're in the last summer session before the school year starts, so we've added numbers to classes, and teachers are trying to prepare for the transition into the school year. Meanwhile, I need to prepare for the transition from a floater to a teacher, something I'm a little intimidated about.
There are other smaller things in my life I'm unhappy with, but seeing those things in comparison to the big picture of where my life is right now, I question why there isn't more joy in my heart right now. Because despite the hard week, God has been opening doors I didn't think would ever open. He's proven Himself faithful in little things time and time again, and I have to remind myself that, even though my circumstances aren't where I want them to be right now, I don't have to sulk about it, or just accept that things are crappy. My hope and joy are found in the Lord, and He knows and sympathizes with where I am.
Some questions Alex Elle asked about this subject are…
How are you preparing for joy?
When I think of "preparing for joy," I think of the moments in which I am sitting alone in my room or in my car, about to face something or someone, or even about to work on the things I love, and I have to tell myself that, no matter what happens – good or bad – I have to remember to be joyful in the moment. Easier said than done, but that's what I have to do.
I don't think there are other steps I take in order to prepare for joy, but I feel like there needs to be more. Simply telling myself that doesn't mean I'll actually have joy when things don't go as I planned for them to. When I used to live on Tybee, I had all of these Bible verses and encouraging quotes on my wall, and I think picking one of those and physically having it with me as I go throughout my day to look at could help me to choose joy more often than not. That's also why memorizing Scripture is important too.
What is stopping you from going above and beyond?
Fear and worry are two things that come to mind. They always go hand-in-hand; I'm afraid something won't happen the way I want it to, so I end up worrying myself over it instead of taking action if it needs to be done.
Dwelling on my circumstances is another thing that stops me from embracing joy. I want to be able to use my negative situations to confirm that I can be a certain way, or get out of doing things I should be doing.
In what ways can you learn from your circumstance(s)?
Instead of seeing the negative aspects of a negative situation, I can focus on the positive things that are coming out of where I am. Sure, I may be tired from my job, but hey, I have a job, and some people struggle every day to find one. And my job is truly one of the best I've had because of who I work with and what we do.
In other ways, if I'm able to trace back a lesson through a past circumstance, I can take that and remind myself that there are always new things to be learned from all situations, and I can try to see how I can learn and grow within the current circumstance I'm in.
Wanting to have joy beyond circumstances is an easy idea to say and to want to execute, but actually having to do it takes a lot of effort. And I thank God that He is with me every step of the way to help me slow down or pause, and look at my situations with a positive and big-picture perspective. And I'm also thankful that, when I cannot find any way to have hope or joy, He is there willing to strengthen me, wanting me to rest in His joy.