This morning I had an “aha moment” that I’d like to share. It all came from something that Joyce Meyer mentioned in a recent show about the bible passage regarding “rejoicing in your suffering.” (As you may know, I’m not Christian, but I was raised Catholic and I have continued to study spiritual teachings of all kinds.)
I knew of this phrase about suffering for many years, but I don’t think I ever fully grasped the implications on my daily life. I always felt like the idea of “rejoicing in suffering” meant that I should be happy about the suffering, to be thankful for it. And for obvious reasons, this never really sounded that appealing to me. Sure, it would be a fantastically spiritual to be thanking Life for suffering while I was in it, but never something I thought I could genuinely achieve.
However, this morning I realized that the passage doesn’t have to mean that I’m being happy because of hardship, but rather that I can be happy during tough times.
I don’t need to be a Super Human unaffected by negative feelings and emotions during trouble. But I can learn to be happy while negative things happen. I don’t have to be happy because of bad things, but I also don’t have to be locked in to only feeling good or bad based on the presence or absence of suffering.
Now that I think of it, even Stephen Covey in you guessed it says something very similar. In his book he shares that a dear friend who went through agonizing pain and suffering during her battle with terminal cancer remained positive and upbeat despite her failing health and eventual death. It wasn’t that she was happy because of the cancer, she was happy independent of it. The ability to shift focus in tough times is the essence of pro-activity, Covey explains.
So for me in my daily life, I’m refocusing on this idea. I want to be better about challenges and learn how to create a space around my Core which can be insulated from positive or negative events that happen to me. That I can fill that Core with a peacefulness that remains unswayed when the winds blow. I’m sure this will be a tough process to fully integrate into my life, but one that ultimately could help me a great deal.