The Apostle Paul wrote:
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT)
What he meant was that he had learned how to be joyful, irrespective of his external circumstances. And he knew DIFFICULT circumstances! Just read the Book of Acts.
By contrast, I had an absolute pig of a commute home tonight – trains cancelled, too many people for the rescheduled services, tired, hungry – you know the sort of thing. By my standards, a pretty crappy situation. By Paul’s, a fairly easy day I suppose.
So how do I live with joy amid trying circumstances? It’s easy to happy and joyful on a good day. But when you’re at your lowest? It’s an interesting challenge and just goes to show how much I have to learn!
I listened to a podcast with Rob Bell the other week and he spoke about the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu and how these great peacemakers laugh like children when they are together. Come to think of it, Rob seems like a pretty chilled guy too. When my days get heavy and the weight on my shoulders increases, I think of this and wonder how I can channel such a carefree attitude.
My word for this year is “Joy” and clearly, there are many days in life when obvious joy is hard to find. Paul’s letter to the Philippians contains great lessons on the subject and so I’m going to be spending a lot more time in it before 2018 is over.
And trying to use those difficult days as a training ground for developing a greater sense of joy, despite it all.