Be Joyful


“Stop having fun without me!”

My husband and I bought our boys a game for Valentine’s Day–Star Wars Monopoly. The game is very confusing at first since so many rules of the game are nothing like the original Monopoly game. The board is even round instead of square!

My oldest son, Josiah, had hit a run of bad luck–left with a tiny amount of money and no pieces on the board–while we were still plodding along, gaining more and more bases and planets. We were laughing as a new catastrophe caught us off guard and Josiah had had enough. He exclaimed, “Stop having fun without me!”

Life can be like that sometimes. It can feel like everyone around us is having a great time living their lives while we struggle to pull our miserable selves out of bed each morning to face another miserable day.

We are in the middle of a storm while it seems the rest of the world is laughing it up.

We are grieving the loss of a loved one while people are talking about the great new restaurant they tried out the night before.

We are going through a financial upheaval, whether from a lost job or stock market recession, while our friends are planning their next trip to DisneyWorld.

We are reeling from the devastating news of disease or illness — our own or someone we love — while others are living a seemingly carefree life.

Whether we are struggling with fear, doubt, uncertainty, or grief … or we’re feeling on top of the world, we have a choice about our attitude.

Philippians 4:4 says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (NLT‬‬)

Always. It doesn’t say be joyful when things are easy. Or when we love our job. Or when there is an abundance of money. Or when everyone we love is healthy.

How can we rejoice in the midst of difficult circumstances, though?

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” ‭‭(Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

Does it seem too easy? It all boils down to this: surrender. We want to control our circumstances. We want to fix ourselves and others. However, these verses tell us how to have joy, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. We tell Him what we need. We trust Him with everything. We let His peace wash over us, knowing He alone is capable of taking care of our every need. How can we not be full of joy when we have Christ who loves us and cares for us?

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