Would it bother you if I said life isn't about finding happiness?
Lately I've felt restless, wishing for something new. New job, new house, new church, new people...? I'm certain I'm not the only one who has felt this way. As I face another school year, I imagine the same challenges: busyness, fatigue, messy house, financial struggles, etc. And a part of me wants to just get away! Make it stop!
But I know that's not really an option, at least not one that would actually bring peace. I can't run away from life and expect to find joy in my selfishness.
My mom recently sent me a song called "You Make Me Brave." I was driving as I listened to it, and I had a realization. Usually we think of being brave in the face of something big and frightening, or in the face of some awful tragedy. But I realized it also takes bravery to keep on facing thesame old monotonous tasks.
Make me brave, Lord.
I have a friend who knows how I'm feeling lately, and she texted that she is praying for me to "remain faithful where I'm at." Amen. My mom knows how I'm feeling lately, and she recently texted, "God bless my daughter with peace and surprise her with joy." Amen.
Yesterday I looked up the definition of brave. This is how we usually define it:
-ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage
But the verb spoke to me more.
-to endure or face unpleasant conditions or behavior without showing fear
Make me brave, Lord. Help me brave the dailyness of life. Help me brave the boredom. Help me brave the physical fatigue and emotional exhaustion. Give me a heart that is "all in" where You've placed me, continuing to serve You and others, when honestly, escaping to a beach in the Caribbean sounds much easier! (FYI that's not even an option, probably EVER, but my point is that I don't want to dwell on impossible, selfish scenarios instead of braving my daily life).
Life is not about being "happy" and comfortable. If these things are the goal, we come up feeling empty and frustrated.
Life is about intimacy with Jesus and bringing Him glory. If these things are the goal, we come up feeling joy. (Notice I said joy, not happiness. Happiness is temporary, as in, "I'm happy I got a pedicure!" or, "I'm so happy we got to go to the beach!" Joy is deeper and can be experienced in good times but also in times of trial and great suffering. Joy comes from intimacy with the Lord.)
"If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it."
Friend, what are you facing?
Daily challenges with your special-needs child? Or your strong-willed child? Or maybe you sometimes wish you didn't have to be a parent at all?
A job you dislike?
Disconnect with your spouse? Or constant disagreement?
Family relationships in need of healing?
Cars and home seem to keep falling apart?
Caring for an ailing parent? Or an ailing spouse?
A season of loneliness? Wishing you had that person or people to stick with you through thick and thin?
Or maybe you're just waking up each day with unfulfilled dreams in your heart? An aching for something new?
Make us brave, Lord.
Several of those examples apply to me in this season. And here's one more:
Our dishwasher broke about a year ago, so the kitchen sink almost always looks like this. As soon as I get them washed, they pile back up. Sighhhh. So many things in life are like that, right?
Make me brave, Lord. Help me carry on. Help me be faithful in all things, big and small. Remind me that life is not about "happiness," but instead it's about You. Help me find You each day in the serving.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
A friend introduced me to this song a few weeks ago. Oh, how I've needed it lately! It has made me cry, and it has ministered to my heart.