It’s not easy to be joyful in all circumstances, especially when we are trying to accomplish something that takes more time then we want it to. The other day, I was having a conversation with one of my girlfriends. She said that she never can feel happy because she is always waiting for her life to start. I know the feeling! She said that she never feels as though she is where she wants to be and so she can never feel truly secure and happy. Her words were not unfamiliar to me. God knows how many times I have said, “if I could just accomplish this, then I could be happy. If I could just make more money, just lose more weight, just have more friends, blah, blah, blah.”
When I look back at my achievements, I can see I have accomplished many goals that were once on my , If I could just accomplish this list. Yet, regardless of the fact that I did indeed reach those goals, I still felt unsatisfied once the high of accomplishment wore off.
As humans, we need to keep shooting for something. We need to keep setting the bar a little higher or we get bored and complacent. I think this desire to keep wanting to improve reflects God’s spirit working within us. As believers, we are constantly being refined by the Holy Spirit. Our entire journey through life is geared around God teaching and perfecting us — to make us bear fruit and prepare us for our heavenly place in Heaven.
Psalm 66:10 For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.
The tricky part comes in being patient while God works in us. It is so easy to get bitter and resentful when we don’t see ourselves as being where we think we should be. It gets even harder when others seem to be coasting straight on to glory, while we sit stagnant, wondering when our big break will come through. We all have friends who have bigger homes than us, loved ones who never seem to struggle with money, people in our lives that always seem on the up and up.
When our minds focus on the negative and see only what is right in front of us, it destroys our joy and robs us of the peace Christ intends for us. We end up ungrateful and negative. We complain and groan. In other words, our negative reaction says to God and to those around us, “I don’t trust in my Lord and savior. He is just not working fast enough.”
I have been in this mindset many times. Even recently, I am struggling to stay focused on what God has promised me and not on what my current circumstances are saying to me.
Last night, as I was sleeping, I suddenly woke up with Hebrews 10
at the forefront of my mind. Now, I have no clue what is even in Hebrews 10. I mean, I know the gist of it, but I don’t know it word for word and I certainly don’t wake up from a deep sleep with entire books of scripture coming to mind. I was so excited to find out about this obvious message God was sending me. I crawled out of bed, poured myself a cup of coffee, sat down with my Bible and turned straight to Hebrews 10. After reading nearly the entire book with still no clear grasp of what God was trying to say to me, I arrived at the very last scripture in the book:
Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
BOOM! Don’t you just love it when a verse explodes off the page and enlightens you!
All that worry and fear that I won’t accomplish my dreams just disintegrates in the light of this verse. The weight of doubt, anger, bitterness and insecurity is immediately lifted and carried off by the strength of truth found in this message. God does not intend for his children to be weak and worried little victims of fear and doubt. He calls us to be courageous and full of faith. He demands us to keep our eyes focused on his loving promises and not on what the world tells us. It comes down to just two little words: Believe & Saved. It means believing in God to lead you towards accomplishing your dreams. It means believing in God to guide you to making something truly magnificent out of your life. It means believing that God has plans to prosper and not to harm you. It is so easy to live by sight and not by faith. Yet, as followers of Jesus we must:
2 Corinthians 5:7 Live by faith, not by sight.
Jesus even said:
John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, ” Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
God knows what our hearts desire. He also knows how hard it is to stay focused on Him. God gives credit where credit is due and He will not miss out on sending a reward to those who live by faith and not by sight. Whatever roadblock you’re up against, even the smallest bit of faith will eventually remove it. The purpose is the journey, not the destination. We are meant to be fulfilled in all circumstances — the good, the bad and the ugly — because that is how we show the world that the light of God living in us is enough. The Lord is our portion and our cup — not what is in our bank account or on our resume of accomplishments.
Focus on God’s love and the good He is working in you and around you. Wait on the Lord with joy and comfort. For you are not of one who shrinks back and is destroyed, but of who believes and are saved!