Fighting Life’s Battles… Question to all my weekend readers: what helps you the most when you are fighting some of life’s tough battles? I find myself musing on this lately because of a few incidents of my own, and friends and family. Let’s face it, life can give us tough battles without any notice!

I just finished reading Margaret Feinstein’s book, Fight Back With Joy. The sub title goes on to say: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fear. It just sounds so good but, in all practicality, it’s easier said than done. In battling sciatica these last two weeks I find myself waking up and I just can’t go forward. I’m no sissy about pain but the up and down motion is not only a lot of pain but a slow go that I don’t like!

We all face those moments when we’re beyond capacity and that means for body, soul, mind, heart, our resilience, our energy—it can seem like it’s just too much! Each of us tackle a season where we have a bout that wants to stay and roost in our lives, making the tiniest acts seem impossible if not overwhelming. Or, like my good friend will say “this is just NOT doable, period!”

The interesting thing about these words from my friend is, when she says it, then she laughs and laughs and it’s like the impossible has become possible right on the spot, even though we know it isn’t. Her secret—JOY! This is not some kind of whimsy joy you get with a gift or a drop-dead delicious green chili burrito (she loves them)—but a joy that becomes her weapon to fight the current battle that has “come to roost” in her life. She likes the word “roost” because she raises chickens!!

In Margaret’s book, she has a great description about ‘joy’ that I would never think would be good when you are hurting but listen to this description and the wisdom of this tactic: “Joy is something we can give away even when we don’t have it.” Have you ever tried to do this when you are hurting? It may sound silly, but giving away joy to someone else takes the focus of your own battle. Send a card or flowers, call someone you haven’t spoken with in quite a while, send out some encouraging emails or texts and wait for the responses. It warms your heart with true joy when someone responds! And, when you take this kind of action, you are really giving (even in this trying time) what you don’t have. God is fully aware of what is going on in your life, so guess what—God takes the little that you have and multiplies with his faithfulness, grace and JOY! And, in the hands of God’s gifting, you are also multiplied and splashed with JOY for your body, soul and mind.

Think of this multiplication as the loaves and fish that Jesus; miraculously multiplied to feed thousands of people. They were filled both in their body and their soul. Can you imagine the conversations these people had as they dispersed and went home? And how about the young boy who saw his meager lunch of bread and fish become a banquet table for so many people and still had left-overs? Apply that miracle to your life—when you are hungry for strength, encouragement, help, etc. Jesus took what was little and made it immense. For hungry people, there just had to be JOY on their faces and he will do it for you, too.

The Apostle James (1:2-3 NLT) speaks to this topic with encouraging words:

“Dear brothers and sisters,
when troubles of any kind come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.
For you know that when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow.”

In closing, I’m not sure what your day is like, but if it includes a battle and uncertainty instead of peace, challenge yourself with Margaret Feinberg’s words: “spread a pinch of love of anyway.” And then take time with God and ask God to multiply what you don’t have. Because, even when you can’t, God still can! And that’s a promise you can take to the bank-AMEN!