Enjoying or Enduring?

These past few weeks, this phrase keeps coming back to my mind especially when several suicide stories appeared in my FB feed. I begin to think about my own life. Am I enjoying or enduring it?

To enjoy means to “take delight or pleasure, to possess or benefit from” while to endure means to “suffer patiently, to remain in existence, to last”.

Life, I believe, is a good combination of both – pleasure and suffering, enjoyment and endurance.

But there are seasons when life seems unbalanced. When there is happiness, we want that season to last forever. Sadly, happiness does not always happen. When there are pain and suffering, we are tempted to make it end soon, or sometimes, we want our life to end… soon.

I think life is more precious than that. We are given things, people, and circumstances not to always endure, but for us to enjoy. It is a matter of perspective to see it that way.

Needs that Endure vs. Prayers that Bring Joy

We have to admit it. We are needy individuals. Every day, we need a lot of things. We need a lot of people to take notice of us and to care for us. We need moments that motivate us. We are always in need. Most of the time, these needs are not met. Since we focus too much on our needs, we endure life instead of enjoying it.

But, hey! We are alive! Isn’t that something too great to enjoy already? Oxygen to breathe is free! The strength to work is free! Sunshine is free! I assume you have a roof above your head, some food on your table, and clothes to cover you since you were able to afford a gadget and an Internet connection to read this! You have a lot to enjoy in your life.

Aside from that, life comes packaged with a lot of hope. When other needs arise – money to pay for those bills, recovery from that sickness, wisdom for that test, or safety for that travel – we can ask for help! Pray! Prayer brings hope. It is an admission that we are indeed needy individuals and we cannot do things on our own. We have to rely on Someone way more powerful and wiser than us. God longs for us to call upon Him. He is ready to answer our prayers. He listens. We only need to talk to Him.

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Jeremiah 33:3

Not enjoying life? Check your prayer life. When was the last time you enjoy a moment of prayer? Did you really talk to the Lord in all honesty and humility? Or was it done in haste just to check it off in our many “to do” list? How can you enjoy life when you don’t spend time talking to the One Who gave it to you in the first place? Pray. Life’s needs will seem too small to the God Who longs to answer prayers in “great and mighty” ways.

Difficult People vs. a Joyful God

We all know someone in our life who is like this. That person may be living with us under the same roof, a co-worker, a schoolmate, a leader, a neighbor, a churchmate, or someone we consider us our “friend”. This person is hard to live by. He or she causes us to endure life instead of enjoying it.

This person might have broken our hearts, broken our trust, instill fear in us, or simply irritates us. If we want to enjoy life, we have to forgive the person, even if no forgiveness was asked. Again, it’s a matter of perspective. Our life does not depend on such an individual. It might be challenging to forget, but forgiveness will help you. And besides, I believe there is only one or a couple of these individuals out of the thousand other people we have in our life. Pray for that difficult person, but don’t let all of our energies and our enjoyment drain out of life just become of him or her. Life is way too joyful for that.

Instead of focusing on that difficult person, let’s focus and magnify God in our lives. He is waiting for us to consider Him as our Friend and our Lover. The Lord Jesus Christ never disappoints because He understands our pain. He died experiencing what human pain can do to another person. He died in love for you and me.

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

2 Corinthians 12:15

Jesus Christ is the only Friend each of us will ever need in this life. He is perfect, yet He sacrificed for us. He spent His life for us. He loves us more abundantly than any other person can love us. Do you already have a relationship with Him? If not, you cannot experience the pure joy that only comes from Him. The Lord is the most joyful Being. And He longs to share that joy with us amidst all those difficult individuals surrounding us.

A Painful Life vs. a Joyful Journey

Are we enduring? Right now? Why not shift our focus from the pain to the gain? Pain means we are alive, and that is something we should be thankful for every day.

My mother-in-law is undergoing therapy after suffering from a stroke which she had almost a couple of years ago. Now that her therapy is more consistent, she said she is experiencing more pain. I told her maybe it’s due to her nerves getting activated and so her brain becomes more sensitive to the pain. She has to endure the pain, but there is joy in knowing that the pain means she has hope of recovering.

Life can be very painful or it can be very joyful. It depends on how we see it. These pain we are enduring all teach us things. They are part of our growing up. They are the seasonings of life that make it taste more enjoyable.

This morning, my reading led me to Matthew 5. Here, the beatitudes are listed.

¶ Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matthew 5:3-11

Consider what the Lord Jesus Christ Himself considers as “blessed”. Included in the list are those who are suffering pain in life – the persecuted, the hungry, the thirsty, the reviled, the evil-spoken of. All because there is another side to their story – for they shall be filled, theirs is the kingdom of heaven, for my sake. We might be seeing life as painful now, but God is shedding a whole new light on our life.

The best is yet to come. Do you know how the Lord ended this list?

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Matthew 5:12
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad!

When was the last time you experienced being exceeding glad? Today can be the day! Rejoice in each moment of your life. Each step, no matter how painful, how difficult the persons with you are, how great the needs are, the Lord is always with you. He is constantly reminding you to talk to Him in prayer, focus on Him, and enjoy the enduring life that He blesses you with.

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