My Picture-Perfect Life
For much of my life, I felt the constant need to present myself as perfect to the world. From the outside looking in, you would never be able to guess that even on my best days, I hid a lot of pain behind my picture-perfect image. In high school, people knew and loved me for my bubbly personality and ever-present smile. And as a Christian in a predominantly non-Christian environment, I felt like I had to force myself to look happy all the time in order to represent Christ well.
Inevitably, this became exhausting. As I progressed in my Christian walk, I started to realize that while God is undoubtedly glorified in the joy that I exude, He can be glorified just as much in my suffering. Joy might not always look like what we’ve been taught our whole lives — it is possible to have a deeply-rooted joy, even in the midst of deep pain. Choosing joy does not have to come at the expense of ignoring our brokenness.
A New Perspective on Joy
“In Your presence is fullness of joy…” -Psalm 16:11 (NASB).
Joy looks a lot different in me these days. Sometimes, it means holding on to God’s promises, even when my circumstances seem bleak and hopeless. Other days, it’s choosing to seek God, even when every ounce of my being refuses to do so. Some days are easier than others — nevertheless, God loves me just the same.
Unlike happiness, joy is not based on my circumstances. Rather, it is based on my knowledge of God’s unchanging character.
God Is Present in Our Brokenness
As Christians, we have believed the lie that God is unable to love us in our brokenness. In reality, the opposite is true. The Bible clearly states that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18, NASB). If you are in need of God’s comfort today, I pray that you would be reminded of His presence in the midst of your suffering.
We are not always guaranteed answers to why God allows pain in our lives, but we can rest in the truth that His love remains constant, even in the face of unexplainable tragedy. Fellow brothers and sisters, would our brokenness lead us to the foot of the Cross, and may we find healing and restoration in the arms of our Savior.