Often, as I walk through Target, Wal-Mart or the grocery store, sit in the pew at church, scroll through our Facebook and Instagram feeds, I find myself discontented and jealous. I watch the news and become utterly enraged. All because I want what those people have – a child.
Their grass looks so much greener.
But as a friend of mine spoke wearily of her misadventures as a single mother – hoping and praying for a husband like mine… I realized this coin has two sides.
While I sit and pine away for motherhood, I have already been blessed with that which another is praying for…and oh so much more! In fact, being contented with my own blessings isn’t enough.
My circumstances aren’t where my joy is found.
Recall Acts 16:22-24:
The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Paul and Silas – Attacked, beaten and thrown into prison. Yet the very next verse says:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…. Acts 16:25
Quite obviously, Paul and Silas didn’t find their joy in what they had or where they were. In the midst of what I personally would label tragedy, they praised God and sang worship songs to Him! They were filled with the Holy Spirit and were joyful – no matter what was raging on around them.
Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
The most unbelievably, abundantly joyful you can be on this Earth is in the presence of God – not with a certain fellow human, not while possessing the most beautiful diamond, not in the beauty of having the most amazing spouse or the most perfect and well-behaved kids and the biggest home on the block. No, as John tells us in his Gospel, Jesus said, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Callie Opper writes, “We’re called to stand on our grass, no matter how torn up, shriveled, dirty or dead it may be…God calls us to contentment, knowing that His story for us is the best story. He wants us to thrive where He has placed us, without fear of the future, without damaging comparison, rid of any lingering bitterness towards the path He has set for us. He wants us, free of “what if’s” and “if only”. Instead He wants us to focus on the “right now.”
So, right now have joy in the Lord. Follow His leading and allow Him to be your true joy, happiness and strength. Trust in Him enough to know – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that if He is calling you to a certain circumstance, it isn’t for naught. It is for a purpose – His purpose.
The grass may appear to be greener on the other side of the fence…but it isn’t your yard.