Count It Joy

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I am not religious, and I’m not a religious scholar. But I do know that the brother of Jesus wrote that we should count it joy when we meet trials. This is the first thing he wrote in his ONLY book in the Bible. Count it joy. Because when we meet trials head-on, it makes us resolute, and relentless. And when these have their full effect on us, we will be perfect and complete – lacking in nothing.

Adversity comes to us at every other level. It attacks our mindset, our goals, our desire to learn new skills and ideas, it wholeheartedly attacks our activity, and it attacks our attempts to elevate ourselves.

And we can count it as joy. That’s our choice, to do that. We don’t have to feel like the underdog or feel overwhelmed. We don’t have to see the problem as bigger than us. It is a selection process – to select an attitude that will be helpful in our fight against adversity, or to choose an attitude and position of weakness and inability.

I chose to be the underdog, on purpose, for a long time. I actually called myself a starving artist and took pride in that fact. And it was an incredible excuse. Why don’t I earn more money? I’m a starving artist. Why am I not getting ahead in the world? I’m a starving artist. Why aren’t things working out for me? I’m a starving artist.

The excuse allowed me to accept my lot in life without making any effort towards what I really wanted. This is just what I am. A starving artist. What I really wanted was to not live a life going to a 40 hour a week job, or more. When I was working, I worked third shift in an attempt to be counterculture. I saw myself as one thing, and I carried it out to execution.

It was actually an effortless life, though the results weren’t satisfying.

I placed the blame of my results on everything I could think of. My family didn’t support me, people don’t want to pay me for what I do. Musician’s aren’t appreciated enough. Prices of everything were too high. Everybody in the church is always putting me down for the way I live, if they would just encourage me, maybe I’d be able to do more with my life.

I placed the responsibility of my position on everyone else but me, and when adversity came, there was always something or someone to blame. This went on for years. Sometimes I just let adversity roll all over me, sometimes I got lucky and was able to talk my way out of disaster without any real effort or sacrifice on my part.

But I never counted it as joy. I never looked at the problem. I never examined myself. I didn’t grow, and I didn’t learn. And whatever mechanism is at work in this world decided to give me the same problems over and over again. I look back at my life, and my major struggle is with just three or four things, things that kept giving me problem after problem.  

Just over two years ago that I realized that the problem wasn’t the world, and the economy, or the people in my life. The problem was me. And as soon as I took responsibility for my life, and said, I’m tired of waiting for the money problem to solve itself, and the health problems to solve themselves, and the bad habit problems to solve themselves. I’m tired of it. If I want my life to change in the next 5 or 10 years, I have to do something about it.

I started taking tiny steps every day toward the place that I wanted to be. I didn’t do anything grand, nothing huge. Just small steps. And I began to see how the same issues in my life caused the same problems repeatedly.

And I began to count it joy when adversity hit. Because it showed me where I was lacking. And I was finally in a position to say, “Yes! That’s another area of my life that I can take care of. Another issue, that if I deal with once and for all, I never have to go through that particular adversity ever again.”

Life is about the adventure and the struggle upward. It’s about winning the value you want in your life. Values were meant to come at a price, the were meant to be won. To be fought for and taken. And then defended.

The brother of Jesus said, “What good is it if you do good things for the people you love? Everyone does that.”

If you want to grow, and thrive, and become something more, then count it joy when life shows you where you are lacking, through the gift of adversity.

Write down something that has been giving you trouble for years, that you want to eradicate once and for all – if you’re feeling bold, tell us about it in the Ideas and Concepts group on Facebook.

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