“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b (ESV)
There came a time when I had to accept that my life had not turned out the way I thought it would, and no amount of wishing it were different could change it.
Sometimes we come across an unexpected bump in life, causing our plans to derail and our hopes to shatter. Or maybe we simply wake up and realize the life we’re living isn’t the one we expected, much less the one we wanted. As a result, we feel unhappy, joyless and discontent.
Perhaps you can relate.
Maybe you had a dream crushed after years of pursuing it. Perhaps you stayed at a job for years building your retirement fund, only for the company to go bankrupt and take your life savings with it. Perhaps you’ve experienced the heartbreak of infertility when you planned on having a full house. Maybe you had a loved one die far too soon, leaving you feeling alone and lost. Maybe you were struck with an illness that limits your abilities and independence. Or by now, you thought you’d be married but are still single, or maybe you invested years in a marriage that ended painfully in divorce.
Or possibly, nothing earth-shattering has happened at all, and life is the same as it has always been. Same ol’ circumstances, different day. And therein lies the problem: Surely there has to be more to life than this.
Regardless of your reason for feeling unhappy with your life, maybe you think loving the life you have is impossible unless circumstances change.
Trust me, friend, I understand.
The last several years have brought unexplainable sorrow, fear, disappointment and crushed dreams. There were countless days, months in fact, I thought I would never be able to feel truly happy again, much less love my life.
Yet over time, through a lot of faith and tears, God helped me accept that although I couldn’t change the circumstances I found myself in, I could change how I reacted to them. I realized I’ve been given one life to live — this life — and I could either continue to allow adversities to have power over my happiness, or I could embrace God’s promise for abundant life and make it a reality in my own. The choice was mine.
In John 10:10a, Jesus explains there’s a thief who seeks to steal, kill and destroy us. But in John 10:10b, Jesus declares He came to earth so we could not only live life but live it abundantly despite the thief’s intentions. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b). Here we see the contrast between the destroyer of happiness and the Giver of joy.
Jesus was explaining He is the answer to experiencing the best life possible despite what life throws at us. He is what gives our lives meaning and joy.
Choosing to learn to love my life, even if it wasn’t the life I had imagined, was the best choice I’ve ever made. It wasn’t always easy, but as I intentionally chose to let Jesus be the source of my joy, even in the midst of less-than-joyful circumstances, my perspectives and feelings changed for the better.
The life you have today, and all it includes or doesn’t include, is the life God has given you. It’s the life you’re supposed to love, despite what it looks like. It’s the only life you have, and the only life you’re going to get. You can live it abundantly with joy based on Christ alone or let life pass you by as you allow problems, disappointments or drudgery to steal your zest for living.
Sweet friend, no matter what you’re going through, loving life is a choice, not a by-product of everything going our way. Our peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment and overall happiness depend on the choice we make.
I now realize it was not only within my reach to love my life again and live it abundantly, but 100 percent within my control, as it is for you.
Your happiness is up to you.
Lord, I want to enjoy my life! I commit today to begin looking at life differently and being thankful for the life You’ve given me. Change my heart and mind so I can live abundantly in Your peace and joy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (NLT)
Ever felt like everyone else’s life seemed packed with blessings, while yours was buried in burdens? You're not the only one. Learn how to love the life you have today, even if it’s not the life you imagined. Tracie Miles’ new book, Love Life Again: Finding Joy When Life is Hard, releases TODAY. Click here to purchase your copy by August 31, and claim your free gifts!
In Love Life Again, Tracie Miles will help you identify the stumbling blocks to your joy and offer tools and insights to take back control of your happiness. The Online Bible Study begins September 4. Register today for free!
Stop by Tracie’s Facebook community (or visit Tracie’s blog) for a sneak peek into 3 of her book’s 13 powerful tips to jump-start your journey on learning to love your life again.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
How might life change if I began fully believing my happiness is up to me? What can I do today to think, feel and live differently than I did yesterday?
Join the conversation, and let us know how today’s devotion connected with you!
© 2018 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks David C. Cook for their support of P31 Online Bible Studies and Encouragement for Today devotions.