(photo credit: http://www.gardenbuddies.com)
What gives you Joy? What takes away your joy? You might wake up joyful, thankful for a good’s night rest, (because I sure am, when I sleep the entire night! Because…it seems to happen less and less at my age!) We know don’t we, it doesn’t take much to steal our joy away! Just turn on the news, right? Or, you receive a diagnosis from out of nowhere, or you receive a call from your child’s principle, or most likely, you or someone dear to you, receives a layoff notice. There are just a 1,000 different things that can happen daily, that can dampen our mood and take our good, positive God attitude down several notches! How do you draw a line in the proverbial garden soil, (I love to garden!) and allow God the reigns of our lives, so we can go back to our default position of Joy in ALL circumstances? You see, I can focus on the “junk” in my life instead of His joy. I can focus on what’s wrong versus looking at what is right in my life. I can focus on being grateful for my relationships and the love I have received and given to those around me.
I have to admit, I am not ALWAYS joyful! Imagine that! I tend to keep myself really busy, so I can have delayed grief when something goes wrong. Are any of you like this? We can “numb out” to the pain! So, after the Boston Marathon bombing, initially I think I was in shock. By Friday, I was a hot mess! I was so upset and in despair. I prayed and prayed to the Lord. I went for a walk with a friend and verbalized my feelings as best as I could. I am a lay Counselor at a non-profit counseling center. We tell our clients, “if you can name your feelings, then you can help tame them!” But, you need to verbalize them and get them outside of your head! At the end of my prayers, talking and walking, I had surrendered these circumstances up to God, realizing there was nothing I could do but pray, donate some money and run a race on Sunday, in remembrance of the victims. Whew! I really think it’s knowing and believing Jesus is still on His Throne, He is in control and I can go right back to Him, knowing He, through the Holy Spirit is in me. He’s my Center and I can stay grounded in Him! There is a huge tug-o-war going to steal your joy! The enemy’s biggest tool is fear, doubt and discouragement! If he can lead you down this path, then he can render you ineffective as a believer, with a tarnished witness, that is joyless, and jaded. God can DO anything! Certainly, He can get you out of a bad mood, out of despair and into His precious light where healing can begin!
Do not agree with the doubt, discouragement or fear! It is not of the Lord! It comes from the enemy of your soul.
Heb. 1:9 Jesus was anointed with the “oil of joy!” Jesus is a joyous Savior and He shares His joy with us through the Miracle within, the Holy Spirit! As a result, we have a claim to the consistent experience of HIS undiluted joy!
There are some great Promises of Joy to focus on. These are what I have found out in my life as I journey in the Lord:
1. Joy is a choice! It’s a decision of the will. It’s always the right choice! (If I am not experiencing His joy, I have to stop ask myself and God, what is going on in my heart?)
2. I pray Ps. 139:2 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” I ask myself, Do I have any unconfessed sin that is resulting in shame or guilt? Our sins can be gone in a moment, once we confess it and admit my need for Jesus to take it away. Then, I need to receive and accept His forgiveness and grace. His grace frees me from holding onto the shame and guilt of my sins.
3. I may try to numb out the pain of my sins by: trying to create success, staying busy, materialism, addictions, hobbies, exercise… wouldn’t it just be easier to come clean before the Lord so He can restore our joy? Yes! I think so!
4. Jesus’ true and constant joy is found deep within our Spirit. It does not ride the roller coaster of life even though we do!
5. His joy is a superabundant supply, ready for our every need. (LOL! Supply & demand!)
6. God’s consistent and solid joy flows strong and consistent in our good times as well as in our bad times.
7. Peace is the ally (and friend) of joy!
Phil. 4: 7 “ And the peace of God, which transcends ( or surpasses) all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I have found as I seek Him, Ps. 27: 4 “God will delight you with His presence.”