And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I put a hole in a wall. I drew another persons blood. I broke glass. These are just a few examples of the things that I did out of anger. There was a point in time in my life where my emotions ruled me. One of our strongest emotions is anger, and for me that is heightened because I have such a big temper and used to have a very short fuse. When my son hit his teenage years everything went bad fast. I struggled to be able to communicate with him any other way besides at really high decibels. We would just scream at each other over everything. There was nothing in those moments but our raw frustration and anger with one another. He ran away from home so many times it became more common for him to be away than to be home. He eventually left permanently. He moved out and I haven’t spoken with him...well, it’ll be three years next week.
In the midst of my anger, in the middle of my temper flaring up, when I am just so frustrated I want to scream bloody murder, God is there. When I finally let Him in, when I finally started to let go of my need to control and I just tried to hand it all over to Jesus, I began to change. I’m still estranged from my son. There is still a hole in that wall. The glass is still broken. A person from my past has a scar that I put on them. And, I am still angry a lot, I still have a big temper, but God can change everything. It isn’t I that have changed, it is God who has changed me. I feel so loved, I feel so protected, I feel Him within stretching me, guiding me, teaching me. It’s Him within me that has allowed me to stop with the knee-jerk reactions and to stop putting my pain on to others. I finally got the message: rejoice in the Lord always. It’s a simple message that is very complex. The Bible doesn’t say:
rejoice when I’m relaxed
rejoice when I’m at church
rejoice when the music is playing
rejoice when I’m at a party
— it says rejoice ALWAYS.
Yep. Rejoice always. Specifically, rejoice in the Lord always. That was the message that finally got through to me. That was the message that God used to introduce me to the real Him and the real me. That was when it all changed for me...getting that message through my thick skull. Finally, I understood what God was saying:
if I’m flipped off in traffic—rejoice
if I’m screamed at by my neighbor—rejoice
if I’m in a car accident—rejoice
if I can’t pay my bills—rejoice
if a family member does something stupid—rejoice.
I don’t rejoice in what happens, I rejoice in Him. That’s how I went from somebody who took out all my pain on others by screaming at them or breaking things or hurting them, to somebody who just wants to love. A couple years ago I said to my niece, “I like people, actually I love people.” You know what she did, she laughed at me. And then she said, “no you don’t!“ My own niece didn’t think I liked people. That’s how dark my life had gotten, the people in my life that I loved couldn’t even see how much that I actually liked being around them and being around others. They just saw my pain and my anger because for so long that was all I could show the world.
I don’t know all of your pains, I don’t know all of your struggles and I don’t know if you have put your fist through a wall; but I do know that no matter what is going on around you God loves you and He’s taking care of you and trust me when I say He knows so much more about your circumstances than you ever will. How will you respond? Will you just live out your life reacting to the crap, or will you rejoice? I choose joy!