Men Are That They Might Have Joy?
It's time to pull out the same picture I use over and over again when my heart is in emotional turmoil.
My stormy seas picture gets used every time I'm faced with complications, confusion, and heartbreak.
The picture of the skydiver -
- is what I use when I've made a decision, and I'm jumping into the unknown.
But the stormy seas picture is for when I don't know what to do, or when I'm not ready to accept my options. And today it's all about the stormy seas.
This scripture has been on my mind a lot lately.
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
"Men are that they might have joy."
I struggle with this. I wish that I didn't. I hate that I struggle with it. I envy people who believe that everything around them is always good. I get annoyed by people who use this scripture to justify narcissistic or selfish behavior and choices.
Over the past several years, particularly through my long stints and trials of unemployment, it has been very hard to believe that I am that I "might have joy." It all too often feels like my entire life is designed to be a punishment or to really define where my breaking point is.
Today was another roller coaster of emotions for me. Things I firmly believed and accepted to be true, and that I am supposed to have joy, were nearly impossible to accept at the end of the day. In one moment I could believe that answers to prayers were found, and I was about to say goodbye to some of my biggest struggles. And then in the next moment, in just the course of a simple conversation with a friend, I learned nearly be accident, that I was completely wrong about my answers.
In a few more weeks I will have to accept that someone else's selfish actions will profoundly change my life. (To be more honest, I've already accepted that those actions will have a negative impact on me. But in a few weeks, I will have to make the necessary changes to my life as a result of those actions.) Accepting that I have to take an option that I don't want, I don't like, and will make me profoundly unhappy, is what makes it so hard to accept "men are that they might have joy."
I know we each struggle with our own issues of faith. But this one is mine. I struggle to believe and accept that we are supposed to have joy, when my life has turned out so very far off from what I wanted. I have found joy in the life that I have. But I have had more "trials" than happiness in the last 7 years. Where is the joy? Where is the end of the struggles? Where is the path that leads to my joy?
I have no answers. I have no neat and tidy way to wrap this up. All I can say is that I guess my hope is tied up in believing that this scripture is true. That men are that they might have joy. I do believe it. And as such, I will continue to have the faith that my situation will improve. Things will change and get better. I will find joy. Somewhere, somehow.