Flourishing isn’t just about finding more satisfactory life circumstances or outcomes. It’s about radical interconnectedness with God, self, and others, and everything that comes with it.
So often we associate joy and flourishing with success. How often, for instance, do we associate joy and flourishing with a restful family day? I would guess not much. Joy and flourishing can be the product of giving or receiving love, of being merciful to a friend who has hurt you, of forgiving someone who humbly asks for it.
It can take a great deal out of us, of course, to practice any one of these actions when things are not going well. If you’re out of work, if you’re over-worked, if you have an abusive co-worker, or if a family member is nearing the end of life, then you may struggle to give or receive love, to show mercy, to extend forgiveness (there are many other stressors that make life hard beyond these examples).
It takes bravery and self-discipline to practice such things under such circumstances, but there’s a certain joy that comes from bravery and discipline.
More on this tomorrow.