When you’ve journeyed closely with enough people through life, the way I have, you soon come to realize that unexpected bumps in life, causing our plans to derail and our hopes to shatter, are really par for the course.
Maybe you had a dream crushed after years of pursuing it. Perhaps you stayed at a job for years building your retirement fund, only for the company to go bankrupt and take your life savings with it. Perhaps you’ve experienced the heartbreak of infertility when you planned on having a full house. Maybe you had a loved one die far too soon, leaving you feeling alone and lost. Maybe you were struck with an illness that limits your abilities and independence. Or by now, you thought you’d be married but are still single, or maybe you invested in a marriage that ended in divorce.
Maybe nothing earth-shattering has happened at all, and life is just the same as it has always been. But if you’re perfectly honest with yourself the life you’re living isn’t the one you expected, much less the one you wanted. Same ol’ circumstances, different day. And therein lies the problem: Have you ever thought that surely there has to be more to life than this? Maybe you think loving the life you have is impossible unless circumstances change.
Well here’s another way of looking at things. God can help us accept that although we can’t change the circumstances we sometimes find ourselves in, we can change how we react to them.
We have been given one life to live — this life — and we can either continue to allow adversities to have power over our happiness, or we can embrace God’s promise for abundant life and make it a reality. The choice is yours!
In the Gospel of John, Jesus explains that there’s a thief who seeks to steal, kill and destroy us. But He continues by declaring that He came to earth so we could not only live life but live it abundantly despite the thief’s intentions –
“10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10NLT)
Here we see the contrast between the destroyer of happiness and the Giver of joy.
Jesus was telling us that He is the answer to experiencing the best life possible despite what life throws at us. He is what gives our lives meaning and joy. Choosing to learn to love my life, even if it isn’t always the life I imagined, is the best choice I can make. Granted it isn’t always easy, but as we intentionally choose to let Jesus be the source of our joy, even in the midst of less-than-joyful circumstances, our perspective and feelings change for the better. You can live a rich and satisfying life based in Christ alone or let life pass you by as you allow problems, disappointments or drudgery to steal your zest for living.
Loving life is a choice, not a by-product of everything going your way. Our peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment and overall happiness depend on the choice we make.
Live the life you love, by loving the life you live.