How To Put Yourself On The Path For Joy In The Midst Of Pain
What are some simple ways to learn to position yourself on the path for joy that is more likely to experience Jesus, while in the midst of walking out everyday, real life?
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
“Did anyone drop this?”
This was the question the flight attendant asked into the public address system on the Southwest flight back to Maryland.
Talk about an effective way to get every single traveler’s attention and eyes looking up all at once!
I was one of those travelers, who had already settled into my window seat and my eyes?
They were already closed.
I remember briefly blinking them open in order to catch a glimpse of what the item was that I just may have dropped on accident.
Only to be met with the sight of the stewardess chuckling to herself.
And then, these words piped through the air:
“Now that I have everyone’s attention…”
And from there, she satisfyingly began to dive into her fluent pre-flight safety speech.
But not before giving this sentiment…
“To anyone not listening? Well, good luck.”
But in this particular personal moment, I wasn’t able to keep my eyes open to tune into the flight attendants’s frequency either, so maybe luck was all I had to hold on to after all.
Or was it?
Just before boarding, I had started to feel the weight of what felt like a tidal wave of heavy start to slowly shadow and close over, enveloping me in total exhaustion.
Like a curtain slowly being drawn closed.
Blocking out any light at all.
I felt like an invisible ink had seeped it’s way into my veins, making my body feel soooo tired.
To the point, I had started to feel almost physically sick in the airport, just before boarding the flight. Not contagious sick, but a deep weariness in my spirit…soul level sick.
My husband, Shawn and I were traveling back home together, after a 24 hour trip to Kentucky to attend my Aunt’s funeral.
I had actually just flown into my Mom’s hometown for a visit the previous week, knowing that my Aunt’s pancreatic cancer had spread.
We had been braced for impact. But not the sprint of the spread or suddenness of sadness.
And now, here we were grappling with how fast things had changed from the week before.
I was able to catch a nap while on the plane, but once we touched down in Baltimore and found our dear friend who was picking us up to drive us home…I all but collapsed into his truck.
I was beginning to consider now…perhaps I was actually in fact sick-sick. Our friend asked worriedly, if I was O.K.
All I could do was cry and close my eyes.
Shawn slid into the front seat and with the two of them now chatting, I re-found my nap in the back seat, able to hear their quiet exchange but too exhausted and weary to contribute to the conversation.
I heard them discuss thoughts on an old farm stand that “used to be” as the truck passed the field where it had once stood.
Our dear friend surmised that someone had abandoned it or shared that perhaps, it had just “fallen by the wayside.”
And then, that is when His Spirit inside me, flickered forward, tracing over my heart and turning on a lightbulb.
With my eyes still closed, I could feel a gentle reminder starting to illuminate the underbelly of the dark curtain I had felt drawing closed over me, just hours earlier in the Cincinnati airpot.
Fallen by the Wayside?
Nothing falls to the wayside with the One who is the Way.
When everything seems to be falling away.
When all we can do is collapse and cry…
We can fall straight into the arms of The Way Himself.
Yes, we can take heart that the one who is the Way, never ever leaves our side.
Even…in what might feel like a sudden free fall in the dark.
Oh friend, when all you can do is close your eyes and cry…may I gently suggest this?
It is ok to let go.
Let go and fall.
Let your face fall into your oh so busy hands, whether rough and dry from hard work or empty and wet from tangled tears.
Let your knees fall onto the floor in need, whether wobbly and weak from long-suffering or aching from trying to hold the invisible weight of keeping up and keeping it all together.
Let your heart fall to the pit of your stomach…whether sick from coming face to face with loss and debunking the myth of control or punched in the gut from sudden shock.
Fall…because when you reach the fall out place…you fall straight into the arms of the One who is The Way.
The One who is always by your side and knows every part of what’s going on in your inside.
It’s in these moments, where this true and popular quote rings so clear to me.
“Isn’t it odd. We can only see our outsides, but nearly everything happens on the inside?”Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Nothing…nothing in your life…whether visible on the outside or invisible on the inside, ever falls by Heaven’s wayside.
Nothing in your life falls off the Promise Land’s maps edges.
Noting is forgotten.
Nothing goes un-used.
God uses it all.
The Way uses everything.
Dear friend, this is not about what I’ve been through, this is about what remains.
This is about the Way, the Truth and The Life.
God has given everything for you and for me…for the opportunity to receive what we need, and in the Way we need it, when we need it.
In every circumstance, in every trial, in every crisis and in every weary dark exhausted moment…we do not have to rely on our own strength or any in-flight luck to carry us through to the other side.
Our Father in Heaven who loves us so much, sent His Son Jesus to become the WAY, the truth and the life for each and every one of us.
All we have to do is receive the Way, that is always right by our side, even when we can’t feel it.
Even more encouraging is knowing that the Way is actually not only just by our side…but will come and live inside our hearts, when we ask.
Friend, I don’t know where you are right now, as you read these words. One thing I am willing to assume is that you have some stuff going on.
Because the truth is?
We all have stuff we’re dealing with
Stuff to navigate.
Inside stuff…all while living in a world where the goalposts keep moving and crises keep hitting closer and closer to home.
What I am learning is that the more I can position my heart to be on a path to encounter Jesus…the more likely I am to experience God’s tender Way…reminding me that He is holding me close.
Once Shawn and I returned home from the airport late that afternoon, I crawled into our bed and went to sleep…and I didn’t wake up until the next morning.
Looking back, it turns out, my body realized before my mind while sitting in the Cincinnati airport, waiting to board the plane that day…that I had reached the end of my emotional and physical energy tank.
Like I had crossed over this intangible finish line of sorts and I could now unclench my body and relax my heart that had been trying oh so hard to be well-prepared and properly braced for bad news…for so long.
Has that ever happened to you?
I didn’t beat myself up that day, about not being able to get out of bed in order to greet our daughters when they got home from school.
I let the Way help me receive what I needed on that November afternoon.
Soul nourishment ordered direct from the Way of Heaven.
Brushing the hair out of my eyes.
Laying my head down on the pillow.
Recalibrating my breath.
Re-establishing my soul rhythm and synching to the Spirit’s sanctifying breath of life.
I found the first dip of salve into the bounty of balm ordered for a broken heart.
In Your Life
Here are a few simple ways I am learning to position myself on a pathway that is more likely to experience Jesus, while in the midst of walking out everyday real life:
Take a 10-minute walk outside.
Take off your shoes and stand in the grass.
Close your eyes for 2 minutes and listen to the sounds you hear.
Read a daily devotional every morning
Write down the scripture from your daily devotional inside a journal and date it.
Wake up early to watch a sunrise.
Stare at the moonrise before the world wakes up in your neighborhood.
Hold a baby.
Make dinner for a neighbor.
Verbalize and comment on a beautiful sight when you see it, such as a pink sunset sky at night.
Listen to praise music in the car or in the kitchen while making dinner. (Try listening to my new song favorite, Colton Dixon’s – Build A Boat)
Reach over and hold your husband’s hand in the car.
And maybe most effective of all?
Put down your phone.
Look up, much like I did on that airplane.
Look up and be open to learning and being informed of what we might have dropped on accident along the bumpy way.
Look up to find your way again with the One that is The Way.
Because friend…there is no “luck” needed, when our flight pilot is The Way.
When we deliberately put ourselves on the path where we are more likely to feel, hear and see Jesus move in our lives…we position our hearts directly inside the intersection, where joy can infuse the marrow of our sorrows with the Way, the Truth and the Life…reviving us again and again and again.
In His Word
“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.” Psalm 38:9
For more encouragement, you are invited to read more posts from Heather.
You may find strength of heart in this post, What You Need To Know When Your Heart Is Grieving.
You may also enjoy this post to help embrace a fresh mindset for the coming Spring:
11 Little Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now.
Visit Heather’s blog, to receive both tender encouragement for your heart and fresh home decorating inspiration. Heather is a lifestyle blogger and a home decorating consultant. You can shop her home on the LTK app and catch up with her on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest for inspiration to empower you on your walk with God and inspire you with affordable ways to love your home.