As we come to the end of the first month of this new year, we have talked a lot about goals and focus. I want to end the month with one more train of thought along that line.
We just concluded a wonderful sermon series at church called “Living My Best Life.” In this week’s sermon, Pastor Jeff asked some tough questions that I want to pass along to you:
What if the work is the reward?
What if the prize is in the process?
What if you can be grateful in the grind?
We’ve all been in that spot where we think we will be happy when……..we get that raise, we get that new house, we go on that trip, we get out of debt, our kids get out of the house! We end up in a perpetual cycle of wishing and hoping and dreaming our lives away.
Goals are important and are a powerful tool to help keep us moving forward. But, and this is a very big but, we can’t get caught up in the mindset that we will only experience true happiness and joy when we reach our goals. Joy can be found in every step of the journey.
This sermon and these questions came at a very good time for me because I’ve had some things this week that didn’t go “according to plan.” I’ve felt the sting of closed doors. This comes after a retreat last weekend that was poorly attended because of a funeral in the small community it was held in, and I’m left with the feeling, “Is this all worth it? Is what I’m doing making a difference at all?” Can you relate?
But as I ponder those questions and spend time in prayer, I realize that absolutely yes, the work is the reward. Knowing that I’m doing what I’m called to do, even when it doesn’t feel very significant, is truly the reward. The woman who attended our Choose Conference who had just been through a really rough year needed to hear what we had to say. She cried every time I sang, her pain was deep, and being able to pray with her and encourage her was worth all the work that went into it.
I’m learning at a deeper and deeper level that the prize truly is in the process. I’ve had some pretty cool things happen along the way, some dreams that have come true, but honestly, God is showing me time and time again that when I am simply faithful, when I get up in the morning and do what He has called me to do for that day with a grateful heart, when I do everything for His glory I win the prize. It may feel like a grind at times, because it truly is, but I can choose to be grateful in the midst of the grind.
How about you, my friend? Are you waiting for that elusive “someday” to be happy? Are you waiting for that promotion to feel fulfilled? Are you thinking that a raise will make everything okay? Are you waiting until you reach your goals to allow yourself to feel like a success?
I want to encourage you to change your thought process around all of those things. Right here, right now is where God is calling you to find joy. Right here, right now, in the midst of the everyday grind, is where God is using you for His glory. Right here, right now, in the midst of the mundane, is the place you can be His light for others. Even when what you’re doing feels insignificant, it’s not. Every day that we are given breath and every task that lays before us can be done for His glory.
Keep moving towards those goals, absolutely, keep striving to improve and grow, but don’t wait until you reach those goals to feel fulfilled. If you do, you will miss out on the joy found in the journey. Choose to be grateful in the grind, trusting that God will help you reach every goal He’s placed in your heart.
I invite you to take a little time and ask yourself those “what if” questions above. Do a heart check on where you are at. Are you seeing the reward in your work? Do you believe the prize is in the process? Are you able to be grateful in the grind?
And then choose to find joy IN the journey!
Hugs and love,