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Are You Depriving Yourself of Joy?
By Victoria Osteen - Dec 13, 2022
Have you ever been having fun looking through recent pictures on your phone that were taken while you were on vacation or celebrating a family member's birthday, when you see a photo in which you think you look terrible? All you see is the weight gain, or the tired hairdo, or the wrinkles. Suddenly all those beautiful pictures of blue skies, sandy beaches, laughing children, and good times are forgotten, and we get busy picking out our flaws in photo after photo and getting more irritated by the moment. We go from enjoying reflections of our vacation or our family to focusing on negative things that no one else would ever imagine.

It's so easy to forget the big picture. It's so easy to let the smallest things in our lives, what so often doesn't really matter, irritate us to the point of losing our joy. So often we want everything to be perfect. We want everything to go our way, to look just right, to feel just right. We forget to enjoy the beauty of the moments in our life. When we see the flaws in our life picture, especially when they fall short of our expectations, that's all we focus on, and suddenly everything turns negative, and the joy is gone.

And we're not the first to do that. Think about Adam and Eve. They were in a perfect garden-beautiful, lush flowers of every kind, fruit everywhere they went, animals of every size and shape. They could eat all they wanted and not gain weight. There was no laundry to do! All they had to do was care for this amazing God-given garden. Then one day Eve listened to the enemy and focused her eye on the one tree in the garden from which God had told them they could not eat. On that day, that tree became the most important thing that she saw and distorted her view of the whole garden. All she could see was what the enemy convinced her that God was keeping from her.

We can't let what we think are flaws in our lives to distort the whole picture. We can't let one forbidden tree distort the amazing life God has given us. We have to focus on the whole picture, what we do have-the grace and love of God, the gifts and talents He's given us, the loving relationships, and the abundant provisions. In the long run, the flaws don't matter at all.

Don't live in regret by focusing on what you think is less-than. Don't be like the man who asked, "Why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" (Ecclesiastes 4:8). Enjoy what God has given you right now. Soak in the beauty of the moment.
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