As seen in the posts of the past few days (here and here and here), this is one of those lessons that I had to learn the hard way…and then some.
And although I am still learning and struggling, today, I have a greater sense of understanding about how our expectations about where we SHOULD be, how we SHOULD feel, how the world SHOULD line up for us gets in the way of where we are.
Joy is not happiness.
Joy is the peace that comes from the knowledge that we are where we are supposed to be. In this moment. Now. Even if we don’t like it. Joy is the deep knowledge of God’s grace. Joy is finding the opportunity in the place where your hope and fear and happiness and pain intersect. It sets aside what we want and what we expect and makes space for who we are meant to be.
Your opportunity in the place you are right now is not a mistake. It might not feel good or comfortable, but it is not a mistake. The real opportunity for you, the real joy, comes from how you respond to where you are, and is born from the acceptance that everything that has led you to this place and has prepared you. It has prepared you to be exactly who you are right now. The pain has prepared your heart for compassion. The challenges have prepared you to overcome. The loneliness has prepared you to reach out. The roadblocks have prepared you to persevere.
Life is full of a mixture of pain and happiness, loneliness and contentment, peace and turmoil. God uses all of those things to make you the person that He wants you to be.
Your expectations can make you miss it. If you are too busy looking for what you want, what you expect, what you think you deserve, you may just miss the JOY that comes from the now, from this place, from the reality that combines all that you have been with all that you can be, if you can just stop expecting and start accepting. The you that is unencumbered by all the pressure of expectations is so much greater than the you who might miss it all.
Grace. Joy. You.
Don’t let your expectations steal any of them.