Called To Something Greater
Do you ever get bored? Do you ever look at your life and wonder what you are doing? Do you ever hear someone preach or talk about joy as something that is ever-present because of Jesus and then wonder why that joy is so hard to describe or pinpoint in your own life?
I feel like we all question things like this to some extent at some point in our life whether we phrase it in those exact words or not.
I started thinking about this because lately our kids, and especially Ezekyal, seem to be using the word "bored" a lot lately, and especially at rest or bed time.
I then started thinking about how often I hear adults say things like this:
- I may not like my job, but it pays the bills.
- It's not exactly what I want to do, but it is what I have to do.
- Sometimes you just have to step up and do things that need to be done.
I am not getting into specifics here, but what I am talking about is a sense of discontentment that seems to run rampant in our lives if we allow it.
The truth is, living life here on earth absolutely brings with it its share of hardships. Since sin entered the world, the world is far from perfect and bad things happen all of the time.
So my question is, if we are supposed to "Be Joyful Always," then why does it seem like so many people live their lives with little joy.
- How can we spend 8 hours (or more) everyday in a job we dislike and still have joy?
- How can we constantly fight with our spouse and children, the people that we are with constantly, and still have joy?
I feel like there is this sense amongst Christians that being "joyful always" is more theoretical than practical.
It absolutely is not.
I feel like, when people speak of continual joy, there is this asterisk next to the word "joy" like it means something other than "joy." Like it means "suffering well" or "being able to deal with things that are difficult." That is not true.
Joy Means Joy.
Joy does not mean happiness, but it also does not mean living a life with only a sense of responsibility to God without ever finding joy in Him.
We get onto our kids when they say they are bored. They have thousands of toys, each other, and an imagination that should keep boredom out of the equation.
But there is this sense I get amongst a lot of adults today that people are often not happy and not joyful...It is kind of like the adult version of childish boredom. We push through life without finding the joy that GOD must bring to us.
There are always going to be difficult things and life is hard, I understand that. There are times when we have to work through things more than we enjoy them and there are many many times when we have to do things we do not want to do.
But through it all, we should find true joy in knowing and living for GOD.
People who go to Haiti on mission trips always say something along the lines of "They (the Haitian people) are just joyful even in seemingly dire situations."
We see the poverty, the hunger, the hopelessness from an outside perspective and then, when we actually meet people there, we see laughing, playing, happiness, and true joy when we enter into their bubble and see how they live.
The first answer is because people who go on short term trips do not actually get to live life with the people they briefly see so that they do not know the truth of how people live.
The second answer is because most people, outside of America, do not equate happiness and joy with money, sports, things, and power.
Most cultures equate joy with relationships, so it is easier for people who live in those cultures to see joy in their relationship with GOD even if they do not have material things.
The truth is, we are called to something greater. We are called to be joyful and to find our joy in GOD. Not in what GOD may or may not give us, but in GOD.
I have to ask myself, what makes me happy and what can give and take my joy.
My prayer is that my joy is always found in my relationship with GOD so that I am truly joyful every single day of my life knowing that:
"Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39