I remember a time about ten years ago. I was on my gap year and I was feeling thoroughly sorry for myself… There were a number of circumstances going on in my life at that point which were hard. Although none of those circumstances warranted the response I gave my friend (and team leader) that day when he told me we were talking about gratitude.
“I don’t have anything to be thankful for.”
Came my response.
“If you think that’s the case then you’ve got even MORE reason to be here.”
How true those words were!
Because so often, we can forget all that we have to be thankful for, can’t we? We can forget all that has been done for us, won for us and paid for us.
Instead, we look at our circumstances, our lack, our disappointment and what we don’t have and decide that we have every right to feel miserable and sorry for ourselves and in fact, everyone else should too.
So let’s talk about it.
Let’s talk about joy.
Let’s talk about joy and where it’s coming from.
Because as leaders, we’ve got to be under absolutely no illusion that circumstantially, things aren’t always going to look great.
That’s not meant to be all ‘doom and gloom’. It’s just meant to be real.
But as leaders, we’ve also got to be real with the fact that we’re not only leading ourselves, but that there are people watching, listening, learning ( at least they are if you’re doing it right.)
Which means that sometimes there WILL be those moments where despite how things look circumstantially, we’ve got to ensure our JOY isn’t stolen.
For our sake, for the sake of those we’re leading.
But before I continue let me interrupt myself with what I don’t mean.
I don’t mean ignoring how you feel.
I don’t mean ‘fake it til you make it’.
I don’t mean playing down difficult circumstances.
Instead, what I mean is that sometimes life will hit hard. Life will hit hard whether we’re ready for it to do so or not.
And so that question is, when it hits, to whom or what are we running?
When “I didn’t have anything to be thankful for.” I was running to my pity party. The one which didn’t change anything but made sure that everyone knew they should feel sorry for me. The one which didn’t serve me or grow me or teach me anything except that I should always get what I want.
Because joy is ACTUALLY something like David had when he was faced with circumstances beyond his control in 1 Samuel 30:6. He was faced with stoning, his wives were taken captive, his city was destroyed.
“But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6b)
David wasn’t happy. Far from it. But joy runs deeper than happy. Joy is where you dwell secure and draw your strength from the One who is unchanging.
I can’t profess to know exactly what you’re going through today as you build and scale your business, lead those in your sphere of influence and love on your family and friends. But I know Someone who does.
I also know that He’s waiting. I know that Jesus is waiting to be the lifter of your head and the carrier of what you can’t hold onto for yourself.
So I’ll ask you again.
Where are you running?