Faith, Life, and Marriage · The Encouragement Corner

Joy: A Matter of Perspective

**Spoiler Alert!!! If you’re a fan of the show “Call the Midwife” but you haven’t watched this past season (season 7) & you plan to…you may want to be wary of today’s post. I’ll try to be as vague”ish” as possible…but that doesn’t always work so well with me…just sayin’.

So…in the last 2 episodes of season 7 one of my most favorite characters dies. She was the ray of sunshine to EVERYONE on that show. No matter who she met, even the grumpiest of the grumpiest, she could find a way to love & soften their hearts. No matter what she experienced she found a way to experience it with joy. Her joy, kindness, & generosity were contagious. It emanated from her like a beam of light, but not in an arrogant way. She impacted so many lives in a positive way & all of that was reflected in the number of people at her funeral & how they remembered her precious life afterward. I honestly ugly cried for a couples days every time I thought about it. It sounds pretty ridiculous, I know, but the character’s death caused me to really think about the connection between joy & a life well lived.

Right around the same time, I watched these episodes I had been really down on myself over the things I felt I was lacking. I was becoming completely filled with envy, bitterness, anger, & resentment over the things I felt I was missing in life but couldn’t do much about. You remember the other week when I talked about how I sat in a Dollar General parking lot & cried & talked with my accountability partner because these negative feelings were running so deep? Yeah…this was that time & it was eating me alive.

But her life, & even her death, made me realize something. I had been believing lies about my life that were taking away from the rich blessings God has already given me.

I mean seriously, even in her death at such a young age, KNOWING she wouldn’t be able to have some of the things she dreamed of & longed for, she still died at peace with her life & the impacts she had made, she died surrounded by the ones she loved & who loved her dearly in return.

In that moment I decided I want to be like her. When my time comes I want to make sure I am at peace with the life I have lived, at peace that my life was lived to love God & reflect His love to others. I want to have lived abundantly for His glory, to have loved & been loved well, having altered someone’s else’s life for the better. I realized that while I’ve been living in envy & bitterness, living focused on what I am lacking instead of what I’ve already been given, I’ve been stealing joy, stealing that abundant life from myself. Living that way is basically believing that if I get whatever it is I was envious of or longing after THEN I’d finally be happy…but ya know what? It won’t satisfy because ultimately my heart won’t have changed. I would still be living with a heart & attitude of discontentment…so eventually my heart would decide it wasn’t satisfied & need something else. With my heart & attitude so set on being discontented & ungrateful, even if I WAS granted those things right then there would still be something that I’d be unhappy about or want to change. And if I keep living with that kind of attitude…when I get to the end of my life I truly will have missed out on all the blessings in front of me because I was too busy being distracted by & chasing down everything else. Yeah…that doesn’t sound like too great of a life to me.

I love how God can use even a TV show to open my eyes because in this case, He taught me the importance of true joy & contentment & that it is found in Him & through a spirit of gratitude for the things I already have. He taught me that ultimately joy is a choice & that it’s possible in ALL circumstances- even the worst, even to the point of death, when it’s done from a heart for Him.

Let me be clear- joy & happiness are two different things. You can be grieving a devastating loss & still have joy. But you have to look for it & choose it, because if you’re not careful, this life can steal it if you don’t guard it.

So in those moments…the hard ones, the rough, tough, knock-down-drag-out tired ones, in the good, in the beautiful, in every moment of my life, I choose joy. Even on the days I struggle to feel it or struggle to see God’s blessings I choose to fight for it because I KNOW it’s there. I choose to live a life thankful for the incredible blessings, gifts, people, & experiences I have now & will have later. I choose joy instead of crying over the “should’a, would’a, could’as” of my life that really don’t matter. I choose to live an abundant life, the life Christ has redeemed for & given me instead of a life wasted & lost because I was too focused on what I thought I lacked.

That is joy…& it’s all a matter of your perspective. If you’re not careful, if you don’t make sure your heart is in the right place, you could miss an extraordinary, spectacularly dazzling life…so choose your perspective wisely…I know I will.

Merry Christmas & be blessed, friends.

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