Even though I hadn’t planned on writing about this anytime soon, I thought I should.
A few days ago, something happened at work and it showed a not so nice part of me and I think some people would justify my action… rather, my reaction.
I was getting ready to have lunch (saying grace) and a co-worker came to the table and she complained about the food but mostly about the service at the cafeteria. Her words were a bit rough so I just stood up and went to another table.
She came to me a bit shaken and asked me if she had offended me with her comments and I said: “yes, a little”. I had lunch, talked to other co-workers about other stuff and then, I just felt awful.
After lunch, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I kept asking myself: “Why did you do that?!” And I thought how ungodly I had been. I reacted the complete opposite way Jesus would have! I just felt terrible and I knew I needed to apologize.
Sometime after that, a good friend came to me and asked me about what happened. I told her and I mentioned that yesterday the sermon at church had been about enjoying life and being thankful for even the tiniest things we sometimes ignore.
Her answer was just what I needed. She reminded me that there’s nothing that God doesn’t know beforehand and that He causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him. As she saw my anguish and as I told her how badly I needed to apologize, she told me that I shouldn’t do so, instead I should ask for forgiveness.
And she was right! First, I had to ask for God’s forgiveness for my lack of self-control and then, I had to ask my co-worker for her forgiveness for my terrible reaction.
And this is where I need to stop with my “story” and think a bit more about what lies underneath. A few people told me – and when it happened I thought so too – I was right, like, why should I stand that? Why would I let anyone “ruin” my lunch? So I did what I did.
But even if I hadn’t had that reaction, I shouldn’t have let anyone “ruin” anything from me! In Nehemiah 8:10 we find this: “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
Why did I let the enemy take the joy away and damage a relationship? Sadly, I forgot that even when I am broken, God’s joy strengthens me, and instead of encouraging my co-worker I upset her, others around us and myself.
That morning I told God and myself that I was going to enjoy my day no matter what…. And there I was some hours later doing the exact opposite.
God tells us that Jesus came so we might have life, and not just life… a great full life. (John 10:10) He came, he died and now He lives; He did that for us! So that we enjoy everything God has gracefully given us. And if we can’t acknowledge this fact in our lives, our faith is worthless! (1 Corinthians 15:14)
Just as the preacher said during the sermon that day, whatever we do in God’s house, that’s what we must do in the world. We can’t be hypocrites. Just as we experience joy in church, that’s how it should be out of the church. Because our Father is with us everywhere we go and in every situation we face. Paul reminds us that “He gives us all we need for our happiness” (1 Timothy 6:17).
We must make the decision to enJOY life and to “be full of joy all the time.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) We need to be more intentional in the purpose of being happy and thankful all the time. This includes hardships too. We must decide to enjoy e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. God, our family, our job, our church, prayer, (healthy) food, our country, exercise, getting up early, the differences, the little details… the waiting room, you get the idea.
So a little thing I’d like you to do is to ask yourself:
- How do I think Jesus enjoyed life? Look in the Bible for specific situations where Jesus enjoyed doing something here: praying, being with others, visiting a specific place…
- How do I think Jesus would enjoy life today?
- What would be his favorite place?
I hope this post has helped you think about some ways in which you can bring more joy to your life and to others.
If you think this might be helpful to someone you know, don’t hesitate and share it with them.
Also, please comment below and let us know your thoughts about this topic, or you can always jump to our private Facebook group. What has helped you to have a joyful life in spite of the situation? What piece of advice would you give others?
Be gracious and don’t forget God’s love never fails.