Over the past few weeks, I’ve encountered many people that are discouraged.
One is a pastor. His church is growing. His marriage is thriving. His kids are doing well. He doesn’t have some great tragedy weighing on him. But he just doesn’t enjoy what he’s doing right now.
I’ve heard similar stories from friends in the business world. From the outside, they appear successful. Business is booming, and opportunities for growth are endless. But they’ve lost their sense of passion for what they are doing.
I know parents who are frustrated with the mundane aspects of caring for young kids. The grind of the routine and lack of flexibility feels restrictive. They love their children. Their relationships are thriving, but in some ways, they feel unfulfilled.
All of these people were joyful at some point, but over time, they have drifted from a place of encouragement to a state of discouragement.
When I was in high school and college, I worked at a store in the mall. One very popular item we sold was a gadget that could help you find something that you lost. It was a tiny tracker that you could put on your wallet or keys or any item that you misplaced frequently. All you had to do was press a button, and your lost item would beep until you found it. Now, we have Find My iPhone and Tile to help us find what we’ve lost, but it hasn’t always been so easy.
If we would have had this technology 30 years ago, my childhood would have been different. Every day, we could count on my dad asking, “Has anybody seen my keys?” Or saying, “I could have sworn I left my wallet right here!” He was always looking for something, and it became a big joke in our family. Now, I’m turning into my dad. I find myself losing things regularly. And just like my mom has always done with my dad, my wife now asks me, “Where was the last place you saw it?” We walk through the places that I’ve been and work to find the thing that I’ve lost.
Think about that—trying to go back to the place where we last had something to find the thing we’ve lost. Doesn’t this same principle work with our joy? Walk back in your mind to the moments where you experienced joy in what you’re doing. When we do that, we can often recapture that feeling and posture. Life changes us, and our circumstances affect us. But if we’re able to think about how we felt before we were hurt, or walked through a terrible illness, or were mistreated by a church member, or experienced financial stress—when we go back to the place where we had genuine, authentic joy—we might just find it again.
For me, it’s easy to be unhappy when something goes wrong. When an important client cancels a contract, or things don’t go my way, or my wife and I disagree about something important, my present circumstances can rule my feelings about everything else. Happiness is fleeting, but true joy is found in something bigger than yourself.
Happiness is fleeting, but true joy is found in something bigger than yourself. @KevinPaulScott
If you’re reading this blog and are discouraged, go back. Rediscover the source of your joy. It’s not always a quick fix, but when you find it, and it’s strong, secure, and deep enough, it will give you joy despite your circumstances.
This world is full of good but fickle things that will grant you happiness for a moment but emptiness in the long run. So, what are the things that give you lasting joy and encouragement in this life?
Find those things. Take hold of them. And rest in them when troubles come.