Written by Pratika Bijlani

Sometimes life feels like you’re staring at a dead end with no opening in sight. You look around and think about all the ways your life should have turned out, and you begin to compare yourself to someone else’s journey. You think of all the things you wish you had accomplished by now. Thoughts begin to flood your mind: “If only I was as successful as they are,” “Oh, if only I was married and had kids by now.” The list could go on and on. You begin to feel stuck and hopeless. You start questioning every decision you ever made in your life that brought you to where you are now. That’s how I felt as I stood in the middle of this proverbial road staring at the fence ahead of me. I didn’t notice anything, except that fence.

But there’s so much more than that. There was so much beauty I was missing until I looked back at this photo. In it, I saw the rows of symmetrical houses that lined the street, the reflection of nature’s beauty in the water, and the snow covered trees. I could practically smell of the crisp winter air. There’s so much that I would never have noticed until I had actually stopped for a moment to look around.

To me, that’s what life is like. We aren’t supposed to pour our energy into that thing we “think” is the most important. We aren’t meant to just focus on one thing, but rather to enjoy the journey we are on. God has created so much beauty around us. Yet, we still walk around with tunnel vision, missing so much of it. In the midst of this chaos we call life, we sometimes forget to cherish the little things. I’m guilty of it too.

“Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy.” Truer words could not have been sung. Life will not always be rainbows and sunshine. In fact, most of the time it feels like it’s not. Quite often we actually walk through circumstances that hinder what God intended for life to look like for us. When I think of the situations that life throws at us, it reminds me that they are what builds endurance. The book of James (1:3) talks about our faith being tested, and how that in turn gives our endurance a chance to grow. That’s just it. But how do we still live lives while walking through the storms that come at us? How do we still admire God’s creation and the beautiful journey he’s placed us on? We do that by rejoicing, and singing, and dancing, and laughing, and enjoying every moment. Life is about being able to rejoice in the midst of chaos. As author Vivian Greene says, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” I think life is about cherishing the moments and paying attention to every detail around us.

Whatever it is you’re walking through, whatever you’re fighting against, whatever you’re facing, I promise you there is HOPE. I promise you that the blessings are coming. Believe that. Romans 12:12 says “Be JOYFUL in HOPE, PATIENT in AFFLICTION, FAITHFUL in PRAYER.” Be patient. Be joyful still. Keep praying. Embrace the beauty around you. But most of all, DON’T GIVE UP.