I came so they can have real and eternal life,
more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
–John 10:10 MSG
I was all done.
People at work were driving me nuts. I was annoyed by the amount of meetings I was sitting in everyday. There were endless deadlines and conversations and things on my to-do list. Every time I checked something off the list, I had another 2 things to add. Someone always seemed to need my advice and prayer right around dinnertime. At least, that’s when they called (crisis rarely seems to happen between 9-5).
My laundry hadn’t been done in weeks, and I was running out of clean underwear. My friends seemed to be asking for more time with me than I had time to give. And I was fairly certain that if my roommate at the time (a wonderful woman whom I love and respect) watched A Walk to Remember one more time and insisted on talking to me about how the scene where he proposes to her even though he knows she is dying is the greatest act of love ever captured in cinema history…. Well, let’s just say I was at the verge of saying things I would regret later.
Not to mention I hadn’t been on a date in longer than I could remember, and I was beginning to wonder if that was an indicator of the distant future in store for me. That’s what my folks would imply when I called home.
Like I said, I was all done. So I did what most people do when they feel all done- I took an overdue vacation.
I found myself driving up the coast to San Francisco, listening to my playlist of various indie rock that seemed to epitomize the perfect “drive up the coast” feel I was going for. Around the 3rd hour of my drive, my mind began to wonder.
The lyrics became background noise, while the deeper questions and thoughts stirring in my soul took center stage. I found myself a bit disappointed– disappointed with the life I was living. Disappointed at myself for feeling disappointed. And honestly, disappointed at God. Disappointed that He had led me to a season of life I was disappointed by.
And I’m not a big fan of disappointment. I’d much rather prefer excitement and joy.
I started to tear up, and found myself praying along these lines, “God, what are You doing? I’m following You, Jesus, so shouldn’t my life feel better than this? Didn’t You promise me more and better life? So then what happened? “
And instead of the usual, “In Jesus’ Name, Amen” ending, I found myself whispering, “I don’t like my life.”
And that’s when I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me. “I don’t either. So change it.”
I realized I had wasted so much time asking God to change something I was meant to change. I had been hoping for conditions in my life to become perfect or for some sort of Christian utopia on earth in exchange for serving Jesus.
My job didn’t need to change. My living situation didn’t need to change. My friendships didn’t need to change. My family didn’t need to change. My love life didn’t need to change.
My attitude needed to change.
The life I had been praying for and hoping for was right in front of me all-along, a life made possible through Jesus!
And I was missing it.
That conversation with God on my drive to San Fran a few years ago changed my life. It was a gift of grace on God’s part to me. And I am forever grateful for it. It was Heaven’s endorsement for me to enjoy my life. I was set free to have fun. Joy became an essential ingredient in my devotion to Jesus.
I guess the point of my story is that as we lead people to Jesus, we ought to do it with joy- not happiness because of circumstances (and as a Christ-follower, they aren’t always going to be easy), but joy because of Jesus.
We ought be able to approach our work, our families, our relationships, our goals, and our day-to-day lives with joy.
Joy in this world is hard to come by. In fact, true and purest joy comes from Jesus. Why not let our joy draw people to Jesus?