Frantic! Frantic! Does this describe your life? Do you have a lot on your plate? Are you busy keeping up with work and family matters? We can all relate to busy schedules.
Now one obvious concern in all this busyness is that we lose sight of what is most important. When we get so caught up in everything going on, we miss out on time with those we love and we fail to embrace the celebrations in front of us. We take our eyes off the Lord.
St. Paul, in Philippians 4, gives us a formula for getting our life in order. Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:4,6 NIV)
Paul gives tremendous insight on finding peace in the midst of a hectic life. Let’s consider a couple suggestions the apostle lifts up. For starters, we look at the command to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Consider that Paul is writing from prison, essentially death row. He is in chains, waiting to find out if he will be sentenced to death. At first glance, it is amazing he can find joy.
It is obvious for Paul that joy does not mean everything is going our way. Joy comes from an inner assurance that whatever we are going through, God is with us. Happiness depends on happenings. Joy is a confidence that God is always there. I love the words of Henri Nouwen, “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” In choosing joy over happiness, we have the power to find something good in everything going on.
Following a call to rejoice then, Paul provides another profound insight. He writes, “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Paul had learned the power of gratitude. When we are grateful, we gain a new outlook on life.
Matthew Henry, the famous Bible scholar, was once stopped by thieves and robbed of his purse. He wrote in his diary, “First, let me be thankful I was never robbed before; second, my life was not taken; third, they didn’t take everything; fourth, it was I who was robbed and not somebody else.”
Can you find ways to be grateful? Try giving thanks and expressing an attitude of gratitude. Remember to also focus on joy over happiness and count our blessings. St. Paul shows the way! A Thousand Blessings! Scott