Amy Eksteen

I feel like we all have a decent understanding behind the phrase ‘life is a journey’. We have all experienced, to some degree, life’s ups and downs, the mountain tops and the valleys.

Standing on top of a mountain, it is so easy to be filled with joy. The view is amazing, the air is refreshing and we have a good perspective of the path we had to walk in order to get there. But what happens when we find ourselves deep in the valley, with no view and no idea of what the road ahead of us looks like? Our minds may be filled with questions like “Where is this path leading me?” or “What is the purpose of this journey?” It can sometimes be a pretty harsh place to find yourself in.

I think there comes a time in everybody’s life where they realise the true unpredictability that lies behind life’s twists and turns. So how can we deal with the unpredictability? How do we overcome those moments when we find ourselves in the deepest and darkest valleys?

These questions led me to choosing the verse “Count it all joy” (James 1:2) as our source of inspiration for the month of March. I think that at the root of this verse lies a rather important message. I believe that we can use this message as a roadmap, to navigate our way through the valleys and rejoice in harsh circumstances, as if we are already standing on the highest mountain top.

You may be thinking “How do I possibly count everything as joyful?” I think the best place to start is by asking yourself “What do I get to learn from my circumstances?”. Focus your attention on what the experience or the ‘valley’ may be teaching you and/or preparing you for. I like this verse most of all because it’s a ‘perspective-lifter’. The verse challenges our way of thinking. It gives us the chance to take a negative outlook and change it into a positive outlook.

Personally, to help me to ‘count it all joy’, I like to focus on some of God’s promises. ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight’ (Proverbs 3:6) – I feel like this verse not only reminds us to keep our focus on God, but also reminds us that no matter how twisted our paths may seem, God will make our paths meaningful and filled with purpose. One of my favourite promises is that God will ‘Set you on higher places’ (Psalm 18:33) – I feel like this verse in itself reminds us to find the joy in everything. It reiterates the message that God has promised, no matter what, to help us reach our mountain tops. I think that it is also worth remembering that all of your circumstances can be used to uplift you. After all, ‘He can make all things work together for good’ (Romans 8:28).

I believe that God knows best when it comes to the highs and lows we will face on our own personal journeys. He has so many blessings hidden at the deepest part of the valley and at the highest part of the mountain. We just need to remind ourselves of what He is doing, how He wants to transform us and what He wants to teach us. I think the key to this is to think like Him and truly count it all joy.

Thank you for reading xx