I’m learning to enjoy my life. It sounds crazy, but there are times when it doesn’t come naturally. The same is probably true for you.
How do you enjoy your life when your life isn’t ideal? It’s hard to be happy when it’s natural to be sad. It’s hard to smile when it’s natural to cry. And it’s difficult to enjoy your life when circumstances weigh you down. Nonetheless, I believe it’s possible.
I’m sitting on a bench. The sky is dark. The breeze is cool. It’s a beautiful evening here at Ohio Christian University. I’m enjoying this moment. It sounds contradicting. My transition to college has not been easy. Some of my circumstances are not what I prefer. But I’m learning to enjoy my life. More specifically, I’m learning how to be happy in this season.
The Apostle Paul, from a prison cell, writes, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Phil. 4:11-12 ESV).
Like Paul, I’m learning seasonal contentment. During this season of my life, I must be content. Chances are, I’m not the only one. Maybe you find yourself in a season full of undesired circumstances. Health issues. Job issues. Family issues. Spiritual issues. The list continues, but here’s my message: you can still enjoy your life. How? By changing your perspective.
The Bible says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phil. 4:8 NLT).
It’s a well-known verse. It’s a true verse. And it’s a very difficult verse for people like me to live out. Maybe that’s why Paul writes the next verse. It’s not as well-known.
“Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me — everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (V. 9 NLT).
Practice, practice, practice! We must practice Godly thoughts. We must practice positive thinking. We must practice changing our perspective. Make no mistake about it, positive thinking is a discipline. It takes consistent practice.
Maybe that’s why the Bible says, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5 NKJV).
Take your thoughts captive instead of allowing your thoughts to take you captive.
So here I am. Still sitting on a bench. It’s getting awfully late. But I’m passionate about this message. I want you to know something. It’s possible for you to enjoy this season of your life. It’s possible to smile. It’s possible to be happy. But it takes practice. More specifically, you must practice Godly thinking.
I was recently told by someone very close to me that I was being negative and whiny. I was naïve to the feelings of those closest to me. Why? Because I was too busy focusing on my circumstances. I felt sorry for myself, and it was making me miserable. In fact, it was making those closest to me miserable.
But I’m learning to enjoy my life. Right here. Right now. Sure, the circumstances aren’t always ideal, but I have so much to be thankful for. The same is true for you.
One of my prayers coming into college was for God to grow my empathy. And He already is. I pray this message helps someone wallowing in misery. I pray this message helps someone to enjoy a difficult season. I pray this message gives someone the courage to practice Godly thinking. And lastly, I pray this message helps the friends and family of those struggling through a difficult season.
That’s all I have. Let’s learn to enjoy our lives in a way that honors God — no matter the circumstances.
Isaiah Pauley is a 2018 graduate of Wahama High School and attends Ohio Christian University. He can be followed at www.isaiahpauley.com, or on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page.