You cannot struggle your way to joy. Struggle and joy are not on the same channel. You JOY your way to JOY. – Abraham Hicks
Many years ago I had the good fortune to experience a 30-day retreat in the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In the midst of my first ‘midlife crisis’ (at age 30), I was absolutely struggling – emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Early on in the retreat, I was directed to reflect on the biblical story of Jesus remaining behind in the temple when he and his parents had traveled to Jerusalem (Jesus in the Temple).
The Spiritual Exercises rely heavily on the imagination so that participants place themselves inside the biblical scenes, taking on the perspective of one ‘actor’ or another. So, I asked Joseph the same question Jesus had:
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49-50)
In my imagination, I listened for Joseph’s response. Joseph explained that the timing wasn’t right, and Jesus asked, “How will I know when the time is right?” And Joseph lovingly replied, “When you are no longer agitated.”
Not being agitated doesn’t mean that everything will be easy or pleasant or hunky-dory. Not being agitated means we embrace the power of choice and remain present to the moment. We can act quickly but not in a hurry. We can trust ourselves to make good decisions.
If we accept the present situation – regardless of how messed up it might be – not in apathy or tolerance of evil and immorality, but with the joy of knowing BETTER is POSSIBLE, we can see our way to that new possibility. We can joy our way to joy.