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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Defying Circumstances

"In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world"
(John 16:33)
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'‘You Gotta Keep Dancin' is a book by Tim Hansel, who years ago experienced a near-fatal climbing accident that has left him in constant pain. His book tells how he has learned to deal with this pain by distinguishing between happiness and joy. He says, “There is nothing wrong with happiness, it's wonderful. . . . The only problem is that it is based on circumstances, and circumstances have a tendency to shift. Most people who live with chronic pain [or chronic problems] have a hard time being happy. That is to be expected. Although there are moments of laughter, nothing seems to stay.

Joy on the other hand is something which defies circumstances, and occurs in spite of difficult situations. Whereas happiness is a feeling, joy is an attitude”.

We cannot control some of the circumstances that come into our lives and challenge us. What we can control is how we deal with them. President Kimball summarised this idea beautifully.

“One time or another, we all face adversity's chilling wind. One man flees from it, and like an unresisting kite, falls to the ground. Another yields, not retreating an inch, and the wind that would destroy him lifts him as readily to the heights. We are not measured by the trials we meet, only by those we overcome. It all depends [upon] . . . attitudes”

We will never have to suffer any agony equal to that endured by Christ. As Elder Maxwell so insightfully adds:

"Though our trials are tiny compared to [the Savior's], . . . Jesus was of good cheer because then current conditions did not alter His sources of ultimate joy. Are not our fundamental sources of joy the same as His? . . .
"It remains for us, therefore, to be of good cheer even when . . . current circumstances seem hopeless. .. . The unfolding of God's purposes may require the collapse of other things.
"How often is it necessary for dismantling to occur in order for something better to be put in place? [Even As I Am, pp. 100, 101]
(excerpts from "Selective Attitudes and the Happy Life", REX E. AND JANET G. LEE, BYU Speeches, 12 Jan 1993)
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2 comments:

  1. I love this! I just did a post on one of my blogs about "Finding Joy in the Journey"...

    I'm making a serious effort to look for the joy in the everyday HERE AND NOW, and quit focusing on the idea that I'd be so much happier, "if only.."

    I'm gaining such a strong testimony of how truly blessed our lives are. Even in the difficult times...

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  2. What a really interesting post! I guess I have never thought too much about the difference between happiness and joy, but I totally will now, as it makes so much sense.I definately need to look more for the JOY in every day, and like you say, its about our attitude!
    LOVE how Elder Maxwell words the'Unfolding of God's purposes...' and how a dismantlement needs to occur,'..in order for something better to be put in place.'

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Hope you have a brilliant day!!