I want you to stop for a second. Stop what you're doing, and think. What is THE HARD THING in your life right now?
You know the thing. The problem. The issue. The thing you're trying to fix, or solve, or ignore, or "get through," or endure. Got it? Got the thing?
Now. If you're like me, there is a teensy-weensy, creeping, sneaky two-word lie you may find yourself believing.
Why me? Of course it's an extra-sneaky two-word lie, so it's not always quite so succinct. Sometimes it says:
- I'm the only one who has this.
- Why is this so hard?
- Everyone else...their lives seem much simpler.
- I'm just really sad. This is just a hard, hard thing I'm going through.
Or maybe (like has happened to me before) you aren't even thinking any of these things. You're so engrossed with/fixated one/obsessed with "your issue" that you can't even see past yourself at all. (Again, no judgment. Spent a few years here.)
Either way, the devil has got you duped. I've been thinking about it (as I've been dealing with my "hard thing") and there are several problems with believing the "why me" lies about the problems in our lives.
- The "why me" lie ignores the very words of Jesus himself: "In this world, you will have trouble." Friends, are you having trouble? Terrific. You're still alive. As my mom said to me recently, "Jessica, we all have trouble. If you could pick your troubles out of a barrel, you'd pick these." Well, if you put it that way...
- The "why me" lie has an false view of reality. We ALL have problems. We all have something. Every single person. You may not have a child with health issues, like me. You may not battle anxiety like I do. But you have something. We all have unique blessings, too, that you often can't see when you're focused on "the issue."
- The "why me" lie misses out on chances to help others. When I get worried about something, my mom will often say to me, "Jessica, stop thinking about yourself, and find someone you can help. You will feel better." Common sense, I guess, but it's true.
- The "why me" lie has a profound misunderstanding about the role of suffering in our lives. "Do not be surprised at the fiery trials," it says in James. Remember? And, "God disciplines those he loves." That hard thing in your life? It's not an accident. God is using it for your good.
- Finally, the "why me" lie forgets that God can bring us joy even in the middle of pain and suffering. Not years after, but even right in the middle of the thing. "Count it all joy, my brothers." Remember?
This is a complex thing, and, honestly, I'm only in the baby steps of understanding it. But it's rocked my world. The idea that I can have joy, period - that I don't need to wake up in the morning and just hope everything goes well, but that I can have joy and meaning and hope regardless of what happens - this is truly amazing. I call it my Joy Revolution.
How have you seen joy come, even in a hard thing?