Life, love, joy - these things are human desires we hold dear. There are others, but these are the ones under which most others fall.
In relationships, we struggle with these things. Life becomes monotonous when there’s no extra money or time or imagination for extras, love unsuccessfully binds people together when uncertainty reigns, and joy falls victim to the failings of both.
I have struggled with holding onto these three things at times. Juggling all three can be a feat.
We are too easily swayed by blaming. She drags me down; he doesn’t treat me well; if we had more, we’d be happy. It’s always someone else’s responsibility.
How many times is life unbearable because of someone else’s behavior? As a parent, I sheepishly admit that my kids have ruined my day more times than they should. An adult whose mood is dictated by the whims of toddlers and snarky kids is an adult who is unhappy most of the time. Kids are learning life alongside their parents, and the job of parents is to teach them. When we allow our kids rule our lives, we all suffer.
Likewise, I have been swayed by my husband’s moods. How many perfectly fine days of my own have been marred by his bad day at work? A lovely evening can end up in the gutter when one person is down in the dumps.
The fact that I am so readily influenced by the meanness of life really grates on my nerves. After I’m finished being annoyed at the external source of my pain, I turn on myself. I am weak-minded, soft-hearted, thin-skinned. Buck up – jeez. It’s their problem, not mine. My job is to support them, to model life, love, and joy so they can be positively influenced, not dive into the hole with them and shove them out of the way to dig deeper.
Do you see something missing?
It’s God. God is there, waiting patiently while we struggle, wishing to pluck off the blinders we firmly planted over our eyes. I’m here, guys, says God. All the time.
We miss seeing him sometimes.
Not seeing the forest for the trees is my specialty. I get so bogged down into daily tasks that I forget why I’m living this life. Daily tasks are wearisome and frustrating. But when I focus on the source of these tasks and the author of my life in them, they become bearable. I’m not at the point where scrubbing toilets brings me joy, but I believe it can happen.
Everything that God gives us is good, not the least of which are life, love, and joy. Our world can’t help but bring bad things and feelings into our lives because of its brokenness. That’s not God’s fault. It’s the fault of imperfect choices made by imperfect people. People change and make questionable choices over circumstances and time, and power is fleeting, along with things like good health, freedom, and security – all things that we wrongly choose to trust. Stress and negativity result from misguided trust and the failings of others. It happens to all of us.
I hope to achieve a place in my faith where feelings and actions occur through the filter of God’s love and strength. I don’t have this strength on my own, as evidenced by all the times I allow the bad stuff to infiltrate my demeanor. All the good stuff comes from him. As I continue to learn this, I hope and pray that I will see the life, love and joy that he so freely has given me.
He has given it to us all.
I am weary in this world.
Your love sustains me – nothing else.
I look to you with hope and confidence that you will show me
the treasures you have given to me.
To all of us.
Teach me to be an example to others
so that I can be a light for you and for your love.