coffee_shopMondays are my least favorite day of the week, and my resentment towards them builds from 5 PM Sunday night to my alarm’s unwelcome tune at 4:50 the next morning. Yet another week of trying to juggle everything, my mind stews as I make the familiar drive into work, usually running late. I enjoy the busyness; I thrive in it. I love my coworkers. Yet when Monday comes, the dread builds as I realize I must shift from the ‘optional’ to the ‘required’ mode of operation.

I’ve found a few ways to make them better: I start out the week in my red heels, and allow myself a ‘real’ coffee for that day from Starbucks or Joe Beans (since it’s fall, it’s pumpkin spice latte season!). That gives me something to look forward to when I can feel a case of the Mondays coming on!

Despite my best efforts, there are many days I don’t wake up happy. I am not by nature a ‘happy’ person. I love to laugh, and make others laugh – but I also take life a little too seriously, at the cost of my joy.  Yesterday in church I was reading in Psalms during part of worship. I’ve been studying Psalm 30 for a while now; this passage contains a back-and-forth pattern of God’s actions and man’s responses. In verse eleven, the writer says:

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.”

As I read that in church, I thought: Why do I lack so much joy in the weekly day to day? I can’t wait to just be home with my husband, in my kitchen, resting, but it cannot be God’s will for me resent the very work He gave me to do. My eye fell on Psalm 32:10-11:

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

Suddenly, I made the connection. Trust and joy are tied together. They come as one.

When I forget my time with the Lord – reading, praying, really studying and casting my cares on Him – I am saying, “I don’t trust that time with you makes a difference in my life. I don’t trust that you can really bring me joy. I don’t trust that you are the difference-maker.”

How can I have faith in God, yet no faith in His ability to change my life?

My happy place is in my home, making it lovely, creating, planning, and thinking of new ways to impact our community. But God didn’t call me (at this time of my life) to be in my home. One of the hard things to swallow as a product of the homeschool world is the ‘calling’ of young women to be keepers at home. I love that calling, respect it, and can’t wait for my chance to ‘try my hand’ when we have children.

But when I look at my life through the lens of “I shouldn’t be here…” I begin to resent where God has me now. I know I am not out of God’s will by working full time. My work pays for my education, my husband’s and some of the bills. It is where God has placed me and I’ve seen lives changed by it. My husband, of course, takes first priority and we work together to manage our schedule and the house (since I can’t do it all myself).

When I tell God, “This isn’t where I should be”, I’m telling Him He didn’t know what He was doing when He opened this door and I walked through it.

Sometimes we have to learn to say no: that’s true. I’m the worst ‘naysayer’ on the face of the planet – I’ll never forget the week I was working on a final paper, working 70 hours, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, attending board meetings, blogging, and hemming a prom dress that had to be finished in two days. When I’m overwhelmed because of my own inability to choose rest, I can’t blame God for my frustration.

But other times we are overwhelmed because we are claiming promises that aren’t ours to claim. It is good to look ahead and bring our dreams to the throne of Grace; but when we repeatedly tell God, “I shouldn’t be here”, we threaten the sovereignty of His choice for us. Yes, it can be hard – but is He not the loving, gracious God we know Him to be? If He went so far as to send His Son, what makes us think He will make the unloving choice for our daily lives?

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:4-5)

Contentment is not a destination; like many other disciplines of the Christian life, it is a journey. If you’re a girl struggling to be content without a boyfriend: let me tell you, sister, discontent doesn’t go away when you get married! A man can’t satisfy you completely, and there is always something else to be the ‘more’ and ‘better’.

Joy and contentment come from trust

Drawing near to God takes faith… faith that He will transform, renew, and empower us for whatever He has called us to do. Yes, even what He has called us to do on a Monday! Don’t get frustrated when you feel discontent and joylessness rising again in your heart. Let it push you to Jesus. It’ll be a party at the throne, because I’m sure plenty of us need to go there!

Back to the church service, where I was reading Psalm 30: the pastor stood up and said, “The Holy Spirit is our Healer. But sometimes the healing, while it comes to us spiritually or physically, does not manifest itself immediately. Christ has power to heal, but in this culture we want to see the results right away. God does not always work that way.”

Contentment and joy don’t manifest themselves immediately, so don’t get discouraged when your ’emotions’ don’t change. Sing praises anyway – even on a Monday.