When life is tough… you have a choice.
When everything around you seems to be out of control and heading downhill… there is a decision to be made.
Your circumstances don’t have to dictate where your heart and mind are at… unless you let them.
You may have noticed my lack of posts since November. If I’m honest, even posting in November was hard work. Let me quickly explain my journey over the past few months and my thought processes, because I can’t explain what God said without describing it.
When I started Training for Supernatural Ministry (TSM) in September I was on a massive high. It had been a big step of faith applying for it and starting the course without any idea of where money was going to come from. I remember my first week of TSM being almost dreamlike. It was so exciting to be there… a real adventure in which I had planned from the very first week to jump in with two feet. The first week was amazing and I did just that, leading out in a song from the very first worship session.
But a few weeks after that I finally got a job which wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I was so grateful to finally be earning some money. Let’s just say it’s easy to summarise it, from that point, as going downhill. I found myself really struggling in this work position and with the busy life I now found myself in. A whole day off was no longer a possibility with work, TSM and Church. A lot of things happened that were completely out of my control and I found myself very quickly losing my joy, losing my excitement, losing my determination to seek after God’s heart, and even losing my will to leave the house.
I’m not trying to attract attention to the hard life I’ve had in the past few months to drum up some pity. But I found myself living in all the negative things, allowing the negative to dominate my thoughts. If I’m honest I found myself with eyes on the floor thinking “woe is me”. I guess being more introverted, I’m probably more at risk of that downward spiral of negative thoughts, but the way in which it expresses itself among extroverts and introverts will be different. For me, the fun adventure I could see ahead turned into a very real battle and I struggled to keep my head up. And I did so at the expense of many vital things.
One of the biggest struggles in that season was hearing the silence from Heaven. There were many nights of crying out to God and asking where He was and how I could get out of where I was.
I think the biggest thing I notice in that time was how the fight was lost in me. My defences were down, and I had no energy to fight back.
There was a moment at the beginning of January where it’s like my head was lifted and my eyes were opened to where I was, to the rubbish I had let into my life and the things I’d dropped. In that moment, it’s like a choice was put in front of me. I realised that either I could continue thinking “woe is me” and focus on all the ways in which I was hard done by, or I could choose happiness.
I started thinking about happiness and how I could be happy when none of my circumstances had changed. I figured you can’t just make yourself be happy in a moment of unhappiness unless you had something to be happy about. In my mind, God then linked the choice to be happy with the choice to be thankful and grateful. You can’t physically put a smile on your face and choose to be happy, otherwise it’s a fake/shallow happiness. But when you start thinking about reasons to be happy, God begins to flood your mind with ways in which He’s expressed His goodness to you. There’s not just a remembering of His goodness, but a positioning, a posture of your heart to receive His goodness. You can remember His goodness but not choose to be happy. And happiness fails without seeing His goodness. But positioning your heart to see and receive His goodness and being thankful then creates the space to fight for happiness!
From that moment when I recognised that I had to choose to be happy, and if I was choosing to be happy I also had to choose to be thankful, God has started to move in my life. It’s funny how I can read back in my journal that a few days after making that choice, I could feel some kind of happiness being restored. I even write about how a restoration had started in me… it affected every part of me. I started wanting to see people again, I wanted to smile and laugh. It hasn’t been easy! I’ve discovered that in that season I allowed a block to come into my heart that stopped me from being able to respond to God’s love how I used to. I was able to see how my lack of happiness had taken away my love-sickness for God that would pull me into His presence. I’m still working through this, but from the moment I responded to a word about a lost connection with God, His presence fell on me in a very tangible way and hasn’t left since. And now that I am choosing to be happy, I find myself with more energy and more fight in me to stand against what the enemy would want to rob from me.
If you’re struggling, if life around you seems to be getting too much and is dictating your emotions, then maybe it’s time for you to fix your eyes on God’s goodness and the things He has done. It can be the littlest thing, but it’s still a reason to thank God. Choose happiness… and watch how He begins to restore you.
As the people of God, we are meant to stand out. We are called to have this light within us, and I don’t know about you, but from the good news of the Bible, we should be the happiest people around! I don’t think anyone has quite got there yet, so it shows there is still more of God to pursue and seek out, and lots of happiness and joy to receive. I’m not going to stop fighting for more happiness and more joy as I push further into who God is and His love for me! Please don’t give up or lose heart… His love for you is so much bigger and stronger than what you are facing.
Whilst writing this post, this song was playing and the words jumped out at me. Don’t rush through the words, take them in and see what God would want to say to you!