Lest you get the idea from recent posts about being happy and setting priorities that my circumstances have changed to make my life better and more manageable (read: enjoyable), let me assure you they have not. I still feel like a selfish, raging, bitch most of the time. But I have been allowing my perspective to change.
This morning while on the Monotonous Machine of Monotony I made a connection in my brain. I do an interval workout, meaning that the resistance is set high for two minutes, and low for one minute. During the two minute high resistance my head is down, I’m leaning forward, and pushing through a sprint. When that one minute of low resistance hits I stand up straight, throw my head back, and shake out the intensity of my muscles. And around and around I go with this cycle for thirty minutes.
This is my new perspective on life.
In the book of James he says, “Whenever you face trials…” meaning that the trials will inevitably come. Thus far I have lived my life as a victim, as someone who feels entitled to an effortless existence until someone or something crashes my party and ruins everything. With this perspective it is easy to complain and feel bitterness toward whoever or whatever is causing me discomfort or inconvenience.
This morning I was reading in a book about the Israelites who wandered through the desert for 40 years after being freed from slavery. I have always considered this story a lesson in the consequences of our sin or of our specific trials. But this author mentioned, almost in passing, that our life here on earth is like one big desert wandering: “We too are in the wilderness of a fallen world. We have not yet entered the promised land of eternity, so we face hardships like Israel did.”
It is my response to these trials that determines whether I will learn, grow and move forward, or complain and wander.
And so it was that this morning I realized my life is one big interval workout in which I push through certain times with my head down and muscles burning, and yet I can experience seasons of joy and relief in the midst of it. My perfect life is not periodically interrupted by pitfalls. Rather, this life is a struggle – though it doesn’t have to be seen as drudgery. Life is work, marriage is work, parenting is work, writing is work – but within all these things I can experience great joy and blessing.
My hope is to take more time to enjoy the blessings in front of me, and to slow down and hear what the trials are teaching me – but to also not get stuck in a cycle of thinking my life is a pile of shit because I’m not getting what I want.