“If you only knew my circumstances.” How many times do we defend a poor choice because of a pothole we encounter on our journey? The enemy works hard busting our joy with challenges to our life’s order. He intends to convince us that we should abandon our healthy habits when life gets tough.
The world’s faulty thinking teaches us to approach our problems on our own with self-reliance. We are told to pull up our own bootstraps. Then when we falter, he works overtime with feelings of shame and inadequacy. We isolate ourselves as we try to “deal with it” on our own.
Jesus understood this when he said, “…the cares of this world… choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Jesus understands what it feels like to be overwhelmed. He challenges us not to be caught up in our cares and no longer focused on the Lord.
Even Paul has a perspective. He said in Phil. 1:12 “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” Paul’s circumstances did not cause him to be discouraged but caused him to do more for Christ.
Like Paul, I want to focus on Christ through my hardships. He looked at his hardships as an opportunity to love and serve Christ. Paul said in Rom. 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that Love God who are the called according to the purpose.
Some of us regret how circumstances define our wellness journey. Don’t let them rob you of your joy. Instead, focus on three JOY producers:
- Jesus is our true source of joy (Hebrews 12:2). He chose joy. Stop looking at the problem. Instead, focus on Jesus. Lord, we need you. We are hopeless without you. You are our strength. Help me see, Lord, where You are at work in my situation. Jesus, thank you for my joy. Amen.
- Obedience produces joy. Jesus says, ‘obey Me so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11) This is not obedience of law and fear. It is the obedience formed from our relationship with Jesus. Lord, I desire the fullness of joy. Help me embrace obedience to your plan. Give me wisdom to sense and obey. Thank Jesus for filling me with joy. Amen.
- Yearn to know God’s word. Jeremiah tells us that God’s words are to be our joy and our heart’s delight. (Jeremiah 15:16) Today I invite you to read God’s word with the heart of a lover. Learn to delight in your beloved because he delights in you and invites you to enjoy him forever. Lord, I desire to love you with all my heart. Thank you for delighting in me. Thank you for your everlasting love and joy. Amen
Are you ready for a joy-filled wellness journey? Embrace the joy God has for your life. Say “Yes” to all God has planned.
Helen Baratta Director of Development for First Place for Health. She is the author of My Place for Leadership included in the My Place Leader’s Kit and Restored! Embracing Weight Loss God’s way available at our online bookstore.