Today is Day 50 of quarantine for Michael and me. F I F T Y. My goodness I couldn’t believe it when I wrote that down in my journal this morning.
Fifty days of not riding at CycleBar in our studio with my community. Fifty days of not going to school to collaborate and worship with my family. Fifty days of unknowns, uncertainty, and a lot of fear.
It would be easy for me to feel like I have no control in all these unknowns. And the reality is that there IS a lot that is out of my control right now. But if there is one thing these fifty days in quarantine have taught me, it’s this.
I will always have control over choosing joy.
When life feels completely out of sorts, like it does now, it is so easy for me to feel like I am at the whim of my circumstances. That the current suffering of the world is in control of how I am going to choose to show up to my life. Nah uh. The current crisis we are living in will not have control over how I choose joy.
**Disclaimer, this is not me saying to not feel the grief, sadness, and loneliness of this time! Your mind, body, and soul need to feel to heal. So let it in**
But, back to your agency over joy. It’s there. And it’s all about perspective & faith.
My most popular blog post I ever wrote was from July 2018 when I had Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease. Oh my goodness I was in suffering, y’all! It felt like the blisters were never going to heal and I would never be able to walk or touch anything comfortably again. For weeks I hid my hands in shame because of how disgusting they looked. The post was about what I’m reflecting on again today – finding joy in the midst of suffering with no known end date.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that my post with the most views ever…like 2,000 views when I usually average 50…was about suffering. It related to SO many people because we ALL go through suffering. The amount of views it got told me that people connect through shared suffering, but they are also looking for HOPE. We want solutions to our sufferings and while we can’t make them go away, we CAN control our joy.
If you want to ditch this post and go check that one out, I still think it is super relevant to what we are experiencing today! Here’s the link.
Ok so back to perspective and faith. I believe that we have control over choosing joy because we have the power to reshape our perspective and lean into our faith (in ourselves & in God). As always, I want to encourage you to let your perspective stem from a place of immense gratitude for the good in your life amidst this crisis. I am confident that no matter WHAT we are going through, we always can find something to be thankful for. And as soon as you let that moment of gratitude sit within you, your perspective will begin to change. And as it continues to change from one of complaint to one of gratitude, you will want to continue to cultivate more gratitude in your life, thus positively reshaping your perspective. Give it a try if you’re feeling stuck. Just close your eyes and reflect on what you’re grateful for. See if it changes anything.
Secondly, when we regain faith in ourselves and have confident faith in God, then we will believe we have the power to choose joy. I referenced this verse in my other blog, but it is just my absolute favorite when it comes to finding joy in suffering:
My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. ~ James 1:2-4, NRSV
Mmmm YES. James writes that we should consider trials nothing BUT joy! Now that is a consistent standard I have yet to meet, but I am finding joy in the midst of these trials when I reflect on how I am growing. Just like James writes, I find my faith in God and myself being tested big time. Where is God in the midst of this suffering? Why isn’t healing coming faster? Am I strong enough to get through this?
I welcome the questions and encourage you to do the same, for I believe questions are the fuel that will strengthen our faith. This is what I believe in full confidence as a result of these past fifty days in quarantine:
God is STILL moving. God hasn’t forgotten about you or me or the essential worker or the elderly relative or the doctor. God is equipping me with what I need to keep going. God’s help is available. It’s my choice to lean in and believe. And God will help me believe.
Whew. So, there it is. I don’t know when this quarantine will end. I’m pretty sure the rest of 2020 for me, and for many of us, won’t look like we thought it would. And I’m still grieving that at times. But I know this. I know that with each day I have breath in my lungs, I have a choice to choose joy. And my goodness, I’m going after it.