This week has been marked by sulking. A lot of sulking.
I felt this pressure of September 12th encroaching. The idea of it made me want to curl up into a ball and cry, and if I’m being honest I did. I think there is this tension in life in regards to time, we all want it to move forward while simultaneously wishing it would stop and stand still so we can just catch our breath. September 12th marks 6 months since my mom left this world to be with Jesus. It feels like 6 months, 10 years, and 3 days all at the same time.
Everyone says the first year is the hardest, its full of all the hardest days. I think that I’ve had this underlying thought that as the first year disappears so will the pain and heartbreak.
“Ok,” I think, “Just move forward and all the sadness will be behind me”
But here I am, halfway through the first year and the pain hasn’t lessoned. Maybe I’ve learned how to cope with it, learned how to navigate through the new normal, but by no means has the pain disappeared.
Then the confusion hits, y’all, because I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Mads, you exude so much joy” or “Your strength is so inspiring” and I feel like a hypocrite because I’m not strong and I’m not joyful.
When I tell my story to someone who doesn’t know it, we both leave the conversation overwhelmed. These past 6 months have been dark and heavy, and somehow I’m supposed to find joy in it. How am I supposed to find joy in it? How do I find joy in this?
Then I stumbled upon this,
“The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances” (Elisabeth Elliot).
I’ve heard Phil. 4:13 a million and one times, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” but I’ve always ignore the verses before that, when Paul tells us to be content in all circumstances, in plenty and hunger, abundance and in need. In verse 13 Paul is giving away the secret to contentment in any circumstance. The mind blowing answer that we all struggle to understand is actually pretty simple, it’s Christ. That verse isn’t a promise that God’s going to bless you through whatever you do simply because Christ lives in you, but it’s a call to obedience and a promise that He will provide for whatever strength I need to walk through whatever it is I’m walking through.
I think that sometimes, sulking is ok, and that I shouldn’t feel like a hypocrite when I don’t always feel joyful because it’s a testament that I have nothing good in me. When people see me exuding joy, or comment on my strength, they’re not seeing me they’re seeing Christ in me. Anytime I have had joy these last 6 months is only because of Christ who gives me strength.
My joy isn’t circumstantial, my joy is Christ, what a freeing concept.