How to Love the Life You Have Even If It’s Not the Life You Wanted
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b (ESV)
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.
Love the Lord, Listen to His Voice
Scripture Reading — Deuteronomy 30:11-20
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. — Deuteronomy 30:19-20
As Moses prepared God’s people to enter the promised land after more than forty years in the desert, he challenged them to follow God and choose life. “I command you today,” he said, “to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him . . . then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you.” Further, Moses said, “Listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”
The instructions seemed simple enough, and yet the people struggled constantly with sin and disobedience. With rebellious attitudes and actions they broke their promises to God generation after generation.
But throughout all that time God remained faithful. The people couldn’t hold on to him, but God held on to them. And eventually he sent his own Son to become one of them, a child of Israel, a son of Abraham. He would live without sin, and he would shepherd the people to live by God’s Word.
When Jesus came, he taught and healed people, and he showed that he is the faithful shepherd for all who will listen. “My sheep listen to my voice,” he said. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
Do you hear his voice? Listen to him. He loves you and will never let you go.
Lord Jesus, teach us to walk in the way of life. Guide us to listen, obey, and trust your Word always. In your name, Amen.
Shallow – Streams in the Desert – September 9
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
By: L.B. Cowman
“Not much earth” (Matt. 13:5).
Shallow! It would seem from the teaching of this parable that we have something to do with the soil. The fruitful seed fell into “good and honest hearts.” I suppose the shallow people are the soil without much earth–those who have no real purpose, are moved by a tender appeal, a good sermon, a pathetic melody, and at first it looks as if they would amount to something; but not much earth–no depth, no deep, honest purpose, no earnest desire to know duty in order to do it. Let us look after the soil of our hearts.
When a Roman soldier was told by his guide that if he insisted on taking a certain journey it would probably be fatal, he answered, “It is necessary for me to go; it is not necessary for me to live.”
This was depth. When we are convicted something like that we shall come to something. The shallow nature lives in its impulses, its impressions, its intuitions, its instincts, and very largely its surroundings. The profound character looks beyond all these, and moves steadily on, sailing past all storms and clouds into the clear sunshine which is always on the other side, and waiting for the afterwards which always brings the reversion of sorrow, seeming defeat and failure.
When God has deepened us, then He can give us His deeper truths, His profoundest secrets, and His mightier trusts. Lord, lead me into the depths of Thy life and save me from a shallow experience!
On to broader fields of holy vision;
On to loftier heights of faith and love;
Onward, upward, apprehending wholly,
All for which He calls thee from above.
–A. B. Simpson