"You have to be open to the idea that happiness is possible, despite the circumstance."
A lovely, wise and gracious woman in my church spoke these words to me one evening as I was leaving a group meeting. That particular night I was met face to face with the reality that I didn't believe I deserved to be happy, and I didn't believe I could be happy.
Addiction does this. It robs us of the understanding that happiness is attainable - even despite the unchanging, ever challenging circumstances. There tends to be an overwhelming sadness and responsibility for the problem. I used to believe that I had to be as miserable as the alcoholic in my life. If he was miserable - I needed to be miserable.
The thing is, that was simply a lie. The belief that sharing the burdens of others means that we take on and become the solution, savior, answer-man, the suffering for all their issues is just FALSE. Bearing the burden means that we encourage and uplift. Bearing the burden of others means we draw the eyes of those around us to the hope that we have in Christ.
Bearing the burdens of others means that I stand firm on the promises of God and not dip back into the muck and mire I was already rescued from. Life is hard. We are promised that. But we are also commanded to live in joy and with hope. If we don't - and we know Jesus, how with others see and come to know him? Why would others want to know him if we get stuck - living without hope and without joy? Why can't we seem to rise above the circumstance and fix our eyes on the one true solution, Christ?
I know first hard that going from a mentality of "this is horrible, how will we ever make it," to a mentality of, "I don't know what He's doing, but God's got this," does not happen overnight. Trekking from hopelessness to hope and from desperation to happiness is a journey. This adventure of joy calls for of daily dose of believing that God is in control, and believing that His word is true.
Looking to God's word and knowing His promises are central to a faith foundation built on hope and joy. Possibility - the promises of God - are the building blocks - the bricks that build the house of faith. Knowing what is possible because God is alive, active, good, sovereign, in control, loving, holy, worthy, and is a patient pursuer of our souls, is the mortar to hold the bricks in place. Knowing what is possible because God is in the picture provides a solid foundation and fortified walls of faith.
When the trials come and the heartaches arise, we no longer have to sit in the muck and mire, we have a solid foundation fortified with the possibilities and promises found in the Holy Word of God.
Do you know His promises? And do you believe them? Read these promises below and allow the Holy Spirit to spark a fresh joy in you. Leave behind the desire to control, fix, save and lean into the promises. Ask yourself, "do I really believe God's word is true? Do I believe these promises are for me?"
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” 2 Thes. 3:16
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9-10
"The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them." Psalm 145:18-19
Maybe today you find your family up against a trial. Maybe you are facing a hardship or heartache. Sickness, chronic pain, broken relationships, financial struggles, addiction, or anything else that causes pain and turmoil. I want to challenge you today, as I was challenged, to consider that "happiness is possible." You can choose happiness despite the circumstance.
God's word says, "Weeping may last for the night, but there is a song of joy in the morning." Psalm 30:5b Let joy come in. Let peace come in. Let God soothe the aching of your heart with his abundant love.
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Praying for you this week, Hope Seeker, that God meets you were you are and He stretches and grows your faith in Him.