First, not every woman’s pregnancy journey is joyful. Be mindful of that. (Now I know a lot of women struggle with infertility, and would give anything to become a parent. And I don’t understand God’s reasoning behind those struggles, either. But I’m not going to get into that today.) But I know for me, it was difficult to slap on a smile day in and day out when this is NOT what I had signed up for. I struggled a lot to brush off insensitive comments from strangers, friends, and family. Sometimes I just shut them out because it was less painful. One of my favorite verses that is hanging up in our living room is, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12, NIV) I tried to keep that as my mantra in pregnancy, and now in parenthood.
It’s hard to remember the last time I was truly joyful. I’m a generally happy, positive person. But when was the last time I truly exuberated joy? I’ve heard the difference between happiness and joy described many ways, but this is one of my favorites: Happiness is an emotion that can disappear as quickly as it comes, but Joy is a choice.
Our life has been a whirlwind of excitement lately. As I write this, I am currently 20 weeks pregnant with identical twin boys. (!!) There are certain challenges and blessings that come along with this news, but that’s not what I’m going to delve into today. Instead, God has been challenging me in the past few weeks with the concept of rest. I figured as an exhausted 28-year-old balancing a full time job, marriage, a social life, regular exercise, and now growing two tiny humans—this is particularly appropriate.
But sometimes I get to meet these kids in their tough places and make an impact that lasts forever. Recently, I was working with a kid who was stuck in a low spot. She mentioned that she got her Bible out the other night to read to help her find faith. We started talking about our favorite verses. From quoting John 3:16 to Proverbs 3:5-6, to quizzing me on the shortest verse in the Bible (“Jesus wept.” -John 11:3), this 10 year old knew her stuff. She told me her favorite character in the Bible was Solomon. When I asked her why, she said that ‘Solomon prayed and prayed, and could have asked God for anything, but he chose wisdom. I told her, I thought for a 10 year old who got dealt a pretty cruddy card, she sure had a good handle on wisdom.
We recently purchased a new piece of furniture for our living room, an end table. It got delivered via the furniture store, and a few days after it arrived, we noticed a small scratch on the side. I didn’t think much of it (stuff gets damaged all the time—so what?). But my husband was outraged. He immediately called the company and requested they send a replacement.
…But why is it that I am so driven by comparison? I wasn’t afraid to brag to my non-runner friends and family about my personal running accomplishment. But compared to someone greater, I felt like my accomplishment had been vastly diminished. Like I could no longer be proud of my achievement. Unfortunately, this is what happens when we compare to the world’s standards…