Here is the thing. I think we need to learn these two things and learn them well....
Soak in every ounce of joy God sends your way.
Embrace every ounce of pain God allows.
So many times I think it's way too easy to swing one way or the other. I think I have done both.
For a good chunk of my existence I was running from pain like a bat out of H-E-double hockey sticks. I used to proclaim loud and proud that I was ALLERGIC to pain. My goal in life was pretty much not to feel pain. I was missing half the picture...
Running from pain is so dangerous. As we numb ourselves out from feeling the inevitable pain we numb ourselves out from feeling everything that means anything. It's when we turn around and embrace the waves of pain that everything changes.
I now see it all differently. In God's equation pain isn't something to be avoided. It's an amazing way to grow. Pain shows us who we really are and helps us become much more than we thought we could be.
Then there's the joy. For many years I was running after joy. I was pursuing it as my idol. It was everything. The truth about joy is it just doesn't work that way. Real joy can only be a gift. When we run after it suddenly it's illusive. It can't be won... Only received. Anything we run after is a temporary fix, a high, and leaves us running for more.
Honestly I think when we start embracing pain, stop running, that we start receiving deeper joy. The two go hand in hand.
AND when that joy comes we must recognize and embrace it! I see too many people who learn the importance of the struggle only to turn around and forget the importance of the joy.
We should not run after comfort... Nor should we run away from it. When our Father hands us a gift He doesn't receive glory or joy from our misplaced guilt or sense of duty.
If God brings me prosperity, comfort and joy I pray I will embrace it! I pray I will share it to bring others prosperity, comfort and joy as well.
If God brings me pain I pray I will throw open my arms and hold it close for the way it will grow and change me.
Joy and pain.... Hold them close. That's all I'm sayin.
Hugs, Angel :-)