As we know, our lives at times can be difficult enough, and 2020 was particularly difficult. Perhaps you lost a loved one, faced a serious illness yourself, or are presently caring for a loved one. Perhaps you contracted COVID-19, or like everyone, you experienced the numerous changes, challenges and frustrations due to the pandemic (wearing a mask, work and school from home, no travel, sports, movie theaters, concerts or indoor dining, and more).
The recent holiday season was a good example of how the pandemic changed our lives in 2020. Some of us, following the advice of health experts, chose to not gather with family for our normal celebrations, while others had smaller gatherings in which we took safety precautions (masks and social distancing).
As we begin the month of March, a question I want to ask you is, despite all that is going on around you, are you able to experience joy in your journey?
One of my favorite Michael Card songs is his 1987 song “Joy in the Journey”. You can listen to it here.
The song tells us that for those who seek it there is a pardon, and for all who believe there is hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind.
There is a joy in the journey
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey
Here are three areas in which I would encourage you to fight for joy in your journey:
- Your relationship with others. Sometimes we take our relationships (family, friends, church, work) for granted. For some of us, being isolated during the pandemic has meant that we haven’t spent time in person with those we care about for several months. Our relationships with others are a major part of our life journey, so we need to intentionally pursue them. I realize that until the vaccine is widely available, it still won’t be completely safe to spend time together. However, there are options. Many of us who had never heard of Zoom this time last year, have used it to connect with family and friends. It doesn’t replace spending time with them in person, but it is a nice substitute until we can. (Note: Zoom is free for an unlimited amount of time for two participants, and free for forty minutes for more than two participants). Enjoy thinking of some creative ways to stay in touch.
- Your Callings and Vocations. You may have many callings and vocations – mother or father, volunteer, IT worker, helper, coach, student, leader, etc. Some of these may have been directly impacted by the pandemic. I know of many small businesses, particularly restaurants, that have permanently closed in our community, for example. Whatever your particular calling or vocation, can you find joy in the work you do? I believe you can if you do it as service to the Lord. My favorite verse from scripture about this is Colossians 3:22-23:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
- Your relationship with God. Most important, are you experiencing joy in your relationship with God as you go through your life’s journey? Do you find joy in worshipping God in your local church with fellow believers (even if it’s on Zoom)? Do you look forward to spending time with Him in prayer and Bible reading, or do instead see it more as a chore, duty or obligation? (Understanding that there are times when you are ill or tired when you really do see it as a chore. There is grace, my friends!). A helpful resource I found preparing our hearts before reading our Bible is Matt Smethurst’s small book Before You Open Your Bible: Nine Heart Postures For Approaching God’s Word. You can read my review of the book here. Preach the gospel to yourself along with singing praise hymns and ask God to give you delight in spending time with Him. Read Psalm 112!
Life is a gift, and though we often take it for granted, we are not guaranteed our next breath. While there is much in our world to be concerned about, He provides hope for the hopeless. I encourage you to pursue joy in your journey, as we live each day Coram Deo, in the presence of, and before the face of God.