The place of my employment is undergoing significant major extensive massive renovation. (Get the picture?) Amidst the upheaval, we are learning to adjust to awkwardly placed workstations, temporary permanent walls (yes, that is a thing), construction sounds, and an occasional unnerving bang of dropped metal conduit on concrete. There is also a constant "in and out" of workers, supervisors, architects, and management.
While it is quite bearable most of the time, there are those moments when the joyful expectation of "what will be," is kidnapped by the daily grind of the process. That is when I have found myself muttering, "I'll be happy when this is over."
Can you relate? "I'll be glad when this gets done." "I'll be happy when that is fixed." "I'll be glad when those people are gone." These kinds of statements are usually followed by an exasperated sigh, a slow head shake, and perhaps even an eye-roll. Continued exposure to "this" situation, to "that" circumstance, or to "those people," elicits a little more "Eeyore-ish" tone. And if the conditions remain for an extended period of time, a thick fog of gloomy rumination can darken the brightest of places.
If you are there, may I process out loud what I am currently learning? Succinctly put, the moment I say, "I'll be happy when...", I choose to postpone joy. My declaration of, "I'll be glad when...", grants permission for the negativity of "this" situation, "that" circumstance, or "those people," to have dictatorial authority over my thinking. Selah.
In his teaching, Overcoming Negativity through Rest, Graham Cooke, points out that a negative mindset makes us, "unconscious objectors to the Holy Spirit." Gloomy rumination is a tourniquet that cuts off the circulation of the fruit of the Spirit in your life. And mind you, the enemy of our soul has no problem with this hostage situation. In fact, he delights in seeing us become wearied and exhausted as we struggle under the weight of the oppressive yoke of joyless negativity. Why? Because he knows the life-transforming truth in what Ezra told those gathered in worship, "...the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold” (Nehemiah 8:10 AMP). Don't miss that. The joy of the Lord is your strength.
Over these past few weeks, I have been startled by the number of times I choose to postpone joy. It's not just at work, it is on the interstate when I hit the umpteenth pothole, and even when I pull into the driveway and look at the gutters that need to be replaced on my house. Can you relate?
I am also learning that is it not enough just to stifle my, "I'll be happy when..." comments. I am invited to displace those thoughts by delighting in God. "We dilute negativity with rejoicing" (Graham Cooke). Regardless of "this," or "that", or "those people," we can choose to rejoice in the unflappable, unshakable, and unchanging nature of God. O precious one, He is relentless in His kindness toward you, stubborn in His faithfulness toward you, outrageous in His mercy toward you, and unwavering in His love toward you. You have every reason to rejoice!
God invites you and me to step out of captivity to a negative mindset into a new place of grace-empowered freedom, today. Right now. Would you join me on that journey? Let's "be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near. Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always" (Philippians 4:4-8 TPT).
Today is the day and now is the time. Hasten to it, my friend. Then together, we can watch and see what God will do. Thanks be to God.
Ready to quit postponing joy on a daily basis? Get a fresh start with 31 Days of Encouragement: inspiring devotionals to keep you focused on Jesus. Both Volumes I and II are also uniquely designed for you to share the joy! Visit https://squareup.com/market/jonathancdow.