Glass half full, or glass half empty?
I want to be a total optimist. I want to believe the best about God, people, life, and this world. It is really hard sometimes, isn’t it?
I think I am somewhat bent towards cynicism and pessimism naturally. My journey has been a fight to have hope and find JOY.
That is what changed everything: the search for JOY. I read this book my junior year of college called “One Thousand Gifts.” She kept a gratitude journal and it changed everything. It changed everything for me, too. A good friend wrote me and shared that she was really struggling. She felt down and discouraged. So I said, “Hey, why not? Let’s start counting some gifts ourselves.”
Not only did this bond a lifelong friendship, it transformed our outlook on life. Things change when you stop listing the things going wrong and start counting the beauty all around. It is also when I decided the word JOY should always be capitalized – because it needs to be emphasized; it needs to be found.
And that journey was what inspired the name of my blog: This Life’s Blessings.
Sometimes as Christians we can be too focused on getting to Heaven that we don’t care enough about this life or this world. As someone wise once said, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.” Obviously thinking of Heaven is not a bad thing. And obviously the opposite is just as true: “don’t be so earthly minded that you are no Heavenly good.” But I often feel that since God doesn’t sweep us up into Heaven with Him the moment we first believe, there must be a real reason and purpose for this life – here and now.
And I believe that part of that is searching for the good. For the blessings. This life is full of them. And Jesus is the ultimate gift, right? So we must look for Him in it all – the messy, mundane, and the miraculous.
In the mess –> like when our dreams die – where is He then? He is in the grieving, the questioning, the comforting, the searching. He is found in the better-than-ours plans, in the that-never-would-have-happened realizations, and the I-know-Him-more-now stories that are so often told.
In the mundane –> when we find ourselves waiting, hoping (but not too much), and wondering when life will start getting exciting. I have had several of these seasons – working jobs that seemed pointless, feeling like I would be in school forever, being single for what felt (feels) like FOREVER. Knowing that God is in these seasons, too? Yeah, that makes a difference. Sometimes waiting periods feel so lonely and can be so discouraging. But He is there too. He is found in the “whys” and “whens” (and I suppose the where/what/who/and hows as well).
In the miraculous –> when healing happens, lives are changed, and peace is found. When you are looking for Jesus in everything, it is especially easy to find Him here. When we aren’t looking, we can be quick to attribute good to coincidence and only give credit to God for the bad. He is here, living in the miraculous, waiting for our prayers so He can answer them. We must look for Him here.
The commentary in my Bible on the Beatitudes defines the use of the word blessed. “More than a temporary or circumstantial feeling of happiness, this is a state of well-being in relationship to God that belongs to those who respond to Jesus’ ministry.” (ESV Study Bible Commentary, Crossway Bibles).
Dallas Willard says, “JOY is a pervasive sense of wellbeing.” Being “blessed” and having “JOY” end up looking very similar – a deeper understanding of the good, knowing that Jesus is always present with us.
This is a space to share where God has been found, because He is present everywhere. In the mess, the mundane, and the miraculous. Will you seek Him with me?