Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Choosing (to fight for) Joy

Everyone around me seems to be marching resolutely into the new year full of excitement at what it may bring. 

I feel like I am limping across the finish line of 2016 and trudging resignedly on into 2017 just hoping  that it can be a little less difficult and wearying than 2016, yet fearing it to be worse. 

Rather a doom and gloom way to head into the new year, but I don’t really mean it quite as doomy and gloomy as it sounds.

I am pressing on into the unknown year with faith that God holds me and our family, that He is sovereign and loving, and that He will work all for good in the end.

It’s just that I am so very tired. 

And right now my faith is the desperately clinging kind rather than the excited kind. And I’m trying to shake off the feeling that it ought to be the excited kind. To be okay with the desperate clinging even though the other kind feels nicer.

It’s not that I am having trouble trusting God to do what’s good. It’s just that I’ve seen how terribly difficult that good can be. And I’m not sure how much good I can stand. 

The last few years have been full of really hard things – cancers and deaths and estrangements and big scares with children’s health and pregnancies and anxiety and the constant “Chinese water torture” of all sorts of pressures and expectations that I can’t meet and the numbing weariness of feeling that I am disappointing half the people in my life on a daily basis.

I’ve grown in confidence and conviction about what I’m supposed to be doing in this season of my life just as I prayed for so much at the beginning of last year. That has been wonderful! But it has included a lot of saying “no” to what people ask of me so that I can say “yes” to what I see God asking of me. Because I can’t do it all. And it is so freeing to accept that!

But I’ve begun to feel very discouraged by the incessant pressure to do more or do differently and the lack of understanding and support for the path I’m walking.

I am too wimpy and ungrateful, though, because I have incredible support where it really matters, for the most part. Brett couldn’t be more encouraging and supportive and I have a few close friends who are also very uplifting in this regard. How is it that sometimes all the discouraging voices, or questioning voices, seem so much louder?

Anyway, here I am heading wearily into another year without much excitement but with a great deal of determination, actually. Because I have a new thing to seek God for this year. Last year it was confidence.

This year it is JOY. 

I am fighting fear over what this year may bring and fighting the weariness of what I am already carrying into 2017 in the form of these pressures that don’t seem to be going anywhere soon.

And I don’t want to wait for circumstances that make it easy to be joyful. I want to learn the secret of being content in any circumstances. 

I want to fight for more than grim resolve in the difficulties of this life. 

I want to fight for joy in the Lord! Unshakeable, unconquerable joy that persists through the weariness and pain of life. I want my hope to be set on something far greater and more certain than an easier year or an easier life.

It’s no help to look around at people who seem to me to have an easier road to walk. THIS is the road that has been marked out for me by my all-wise, all-loving, and all-powerful God. I can trust Him.

And I hope I can learn to fight for JOY in Him through it all. 

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