i realized something the other day - in my search for JOY.
i realized that something that is stealing my joy is my tendency to want to "tweak" my sorrows.
"Oh, God - i could handle this sorrow... if only i didn't have to deal with X... Could you substitute illness instead of rejection? Physical pain for emotional hurt? i'll take humility, but leave me my reputation?"
It doesn't matter what kind of sorrow we're given - you can't compare or measure... a friend of mine told me that her husband who is wheelchair bound had said, "i can handle the chair... but i wish i could use my hands..."
& isn't that how it is in our pain?
We look for a little relief - some way that would make our circumstances tolerable, more bearable, a little easier...
For me... i went through my little list of sorrows in my head & saw that i kept thinking, "i could handle this, if only..."
& i spent so much time thinking about the "if only"... that i was missing the reality - that i can't tweak my sorrows. They were measured out for me in the exact number and order that they were intended.
Sitting in the Good Friday service at church, with everyone around me standing, i was listening to the decades married couple singing behind me. Their voices were soft, but i could hear every breath and promise as they sang the words of faith in unison. The sound of their voices blessed me - with words of the old story that had brought us together on this Friday morning... knowing that Sunday comes. The woman beside me quit singing - & softly cried until i thought i would burst if i didn't grab her & cry with her... but she was older with fancy diamonds on her hands... & i was too shy... & the pastor was already beginning to speak - so instead i just prayed for us both - to be able to receive without tweaking - the faith building tests that our Father has provided.
So no more... no more, "i could have handled this better if..."
More of Him, less of me... the whole, 'i can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' That's the scripture that i'm gonna allow to reverberate truth through me this year.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. - james1:2-5