These last days that are closing in on the celebration of Christmas have provided me an uplifted spirit. Elevating me into a better frame of mind that only puts into perspective what I have been missing in these past few months and that is claiming the joy I have in the Lord. I get peeks of it, but I mean CLAIMING IT. Like really claiming it - like you can diagnose me, drug me, hurt my loved ones, kick-me-when-I'm down but I have a joy in the Lord that you cannot diminish kind of joy. I'm not speaking of foregoing necessary grief or shoving things under a carpet. Such actions cure nothing, but in fact only stifle necessary processes that allow us to move on. Some of us, however, allow ourselves an extension in the these processes and often that develops into a long stay in the self-pity pond and as I mentioned before - there is most definitely a drowning risk. When our head is falling down below the water line so often, we fail to see the magnificent life preservers God throws our way.
You know those life preservers - they come in all forms. They are the blessings of our children or spouse. They are in the acknowledgement of a warm bed at night and food in our stomachs. These are things to be truly thankful for and things that should keep our head above water. But there is so much more to keep us buoyant and further more out of the water much more expeditiously. We have a knowledge of God's word. He tells us he has a plan for us! He says he has important work for us to do on his behalf in this lifetime. On his behalf! How can we have such knowledge and still feel as though we are drowning in misery? Because the enemy sits on our shoulder and whispers lies into our head and hearts. We are told that we are worthless, unloved, hated even. We are told that our hurts, ailments and scars are too great and so we succumb - all the while forgetting promises from a mighty God who has brought us this far and yet, we fail to believe him so often. He proves himself time and time again and we fail to grab on to the one who gives life. We cannot do what we are asked of by him while we flail around in a pond of self-pity. It is amazing how limited we are while we are in there. We cannot encourage with water in our mouth. With tired hands we cannot serve others and a distressed heart does not have room for joy. Enough self-pity can even hamper our ability to fight back. Instead we get tired of fighting and j u s t l e t g o.
So in our times of trouble, we can sit on the bank of the pond. We can even get our toes a bit damp. Jesus felt grief and sadness in his trials as well. But we must be wary of the one who'd like to push us all the way in with his whispers. We need to remember that God is a very good buoy and that is something we can always hold onto.