Have you ever felt stuck in a pattern in your life? Maybe it’s an attitude or a habit that has become a stumbling block to you. Well, I know how that is because I’m there myself right now. It can be discouraging to be stuck in the middle of something you know God is calling you out on. You want to change it right NOW, but still find yourself stuck. So, what do we do?
With me, it started a few weeks ago. I went to a morning retreat at my church called Unplugged. It was held at a local retreat center. It was all about getting away from your routine and getting quiet before God. I was looking forward to this time and went with a few ideas of what I wanted to focus on and pray about. I soon found out that God had other ideas.
After the initial time together, we broke from the group, and I found a quiet place to sit before God. Before I had much of a chance to start in on MY prayers, a word kept popping into my head and that word was joy. I tried to ignore that word, but it kept popping back into my mind and wouldn’t leave me alone. I finally surrendered my agenda to God’s and turned my focus to figuring out what God wanted me to learn. Actually, it was kind of in the back of my mind already anyway. Not joy, but the opposite of it. For about a 1 1/2 years, I’ve been dealing with a health issue of vertigo. While it’s not life threatening, it makes me very sick when it hits me, and I am unable to function for about a day.
What God is showing me is that I am also letting this illness rob me of my joy. I didn’t really want to face this, but God was telling me it was time to deal with it. It wasn’t like the kind of sadness that hits you hard when a loved one dies suddenly or a catastrophe of another kind hits; rather, my joy was being snuffed out a little at a time, almost without me realizing it.
God led me to a verse that morning: “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.
I realized God didn’t say “In perfect health is fullness of joy.” He said “In My presence is fullness of joy.” One of the things that I took away from that retreat was that I need to pray for my attitude so that I will learn what it means to be joyful even when dealing with a difficult situation.
I am not there yet, but I am letting God teach me how to do this. I hope this encourages you if you find yourself in the middle of a difficult situation or time in your life. Ask God to show you how to respond to it and what you need to learn from it. I’m right there with you.