This is one of my favorite words. I love it so much I painted it into some watercolor steam from a watercolor coffee cup. But it’s one of those that I selectively favor, you know? Because rejoicing “always” like Paul says (and says again) often does not feel natural.
Especially when it’s snowing and you were hoping to wear something breezy and springy. Like today.
Or when you are STILL getting over a cold that it seems you’ve had for a month. Like me.
Or when all you want to eat is a cranberry-orange muffin from Panera and they’ve been out of it two separate times in the past week. Like this week.
I was thinking over my thoughts and had to laugh a little bit at myself. Really? You’re upset over a muffin? (To which my inner drama queen tossed her hair dramatically and replied, “Certainly, a muffin. Is there any pastry more significant or perfect than that?!?!”)
Really, those examples are silly, and I know it. Those aren’t real struggles to rejoice; they’re just me not getting my way. (Except the muffin… and I ask for prayers that Panera will get it together and have enough cranberry-orange muffins to go around next time.)
Really, I know plenty of people that are in the midst of actual struggles. Mind-numbing, head-swirling, heart-breaking struggles. Circumstances that I can’t pretend to understand. You know, the ones that leave you so altered that you can’t remember a time when you didn’t operate from a place of fight-or-flight mentality.
Maybe you’re there now. And if so, this one goes out to you. May Christ sustain you. May the Spirit renew you. May God fight for you. Actually, he’s already doing all of those things. So, I pray that you will be confident in him, and that he will restore your rejoicing.
If you’re like me, and just struggling to get your own way sometimes, let’s just simmer down and settle into the love of the Lord together. Let’s rejoice like pretty lavender-y steam rising from our collective coffee cups to heaven.
It’s audacious at best to admonish anyone these days, and often considered insulting. But Paul says in his blunt, unaffected way- REJOICE. He doesn’t care what you think. He just loves the Lord, and desires that you love him too. Probably because he knows that loving the Lord will always yield rejoicing.
So, I audaciously remind you (and myself) wherever you find yourself: