As we travel this journey called life, there are many challenges and hindrances that come that try to slow us down and move us off course. These distractions come in many forms, but I have found three main thieves that try to steal my joy in the journey.
Courage means mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Discouragement is the absence of hope which is meant to destroy your courage.
And they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom, and the people became impatient (depressed, much discouraged) because [of the trials] of the way. - Numbers 21: 4-5 (AMP)
Have you noticed there are trials of the way? These trials and oppositions come in many forms.
- A negative doctor’s report
- An unexpected bill
- People who feel the need to crush your dream
- A foreclosure notice
- A job lay off
- Family strife
If you don’t take care of discouragement in the thought stage, it will lead to other destructive behaviors such as complaining, murmuring and backbiting.
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen our heart. - Psalm 31:34
We have a choice to make - We can take opposition and discouragement or we can take courage!
When situations come to discourage you and steal your joy, we have to make a decision to take courage and choose life. His joy is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Disappointment means failure to fill the hopes or expectations of, to prevent hopes or expectations from being realized.
This is a big one. We have a plan. We have a dream. We have a vision. We have our goals and we have our timelines. We have an appointed time we think that things should happen...and then it doesn’t. Disappointment rules the day.
Our expectations become void of hope. It didn’t happen the way we thought or with who we thought and our hope gives in.
Disappointments in life are inevitable but bitterness and unforgiveness are optional!
When you are offended or disappointed by others and you allow the hurt to germinate in your heart; bitterness and resentment will take root.
Don’t nurse the offense! Things grow when they are nursed!
Don’t miss your appointment! There is a God appointed time for you. To everything there is a season and a time and purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3). Stay sweet and trust God’s timing.
What I love most about living in New England is the change of seasons. Just when one season is hanging on too long, here comes another one to embrace. When the summers get too hot, here comes the cool Autumn evenings and the changing of the leaves. When the excitement of the holidays come, here comes the winter with the snow and it’s time to light the fireplaces and enjoy family around the fire. When Winter hands around too long, here comes the spring with the much needed rain and the blossoming of the flowers. Everything turns green and lush. And on we go!
Don’t miss your appointment by complaining about the season you are in. It will pass you by!
He who has a glad heart has a continual feast regardless of the circumstances. - Proverbs 15:15
A continual feast? A feast of what?
- How about the promise that He daily loads us with benefits!
- He forgives our sins and heals our diseases!
- He prearranged and made ready a good path for you to walk and live a good life!
- His thoughts toward you are only good and you have an expected end.
- We have the Holy Spirit in our lives to lead and guide us. We are never without help!
- He makes the crooked places straight
- He makes a way when there seems to be no way!
When you consider the feast he has prepared for you, it keeps you in a happy place. A satisfied place. A full place! There is no room for anything else when you feast at His table.
Discontentment: not pleased with one’s circumstances, never satisfied, not happy with where you are
Here are some thoughts that lead to discontentment.
- I thought I would be healed by now.
- I thought I would be married by now.
- I thought i would have had children by now.
- I thought I would have more money by now.
- I thought I would have had a better job by now.
- I thought I would have owned house by now.
- I thought I would be thinner by now.
- I thought the church would be larger by now
- I thought I would have had a promotion by now.
- I thought, I thought, I thought!
Take on God’s thoughts because they are higher than our thoughts.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. - Philippians 4:6-9 (MSG)
In Philippians 4:11, we read the Apostle Paul saying he found the recipe for being happy whether he was full or hungry, hands full or empty. He said that whatever he had, wherever he was, he could make it through anything because of the One who made him who he was.
What is the recipe the Apostle Paul found? How could he say all of this in one of the worst prisons ever? How could he tell us to “stand fast” in the midst of the most horrific circumstances?
Here is the Apostle Paul’s simple recipe for life. It is so simple so don’t miss it.
Rejoice - Live thankful - Think on these things (The good report).
The circumstances of life can paralyze you or propel you.
Circumstances can be roadblocks that prevent your progress or rocket ships that shoot you into the perfect will of God!
I challenge you not to grow weary in your well doing.
I know this one thing for sure - When I am weary, I do not hear His whisper.
Don’t allow discouragement, disappointment and discontentment to rob your joy as your travel this adventurous journey called life. God has a great plan for you so resist these thieves and experience His joy which will be your strength in every situation. Go for it all!!!