“All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank him to his face! He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.” Psalm 30:4-5 (The Message)
Joy. Usually when I think about this word, I think about Christmas. “Comfort and Joy,” “Joy to the World,” as well as “peace, joy, and love.”
However, when I think about this word recently, I start singing in my head the new song out on the Christian radio station, from a group my daughter and husband had the privilege of meeting this past fall, and I start dancing and “air” playing the instruments (not nearly as good as they do in reality) because the tune is so catchy. It seriously puts a smile on my face no matter what kind of day I’m having.
Joy. It can be contagious … but to someone who is struggling with learning to trust our Heavenly Father, being thankful, or learning to live without fear, joy feels out of reach.
Life is like an onion with many layers. While we may want God to fix everything at once or instantly make us happy (joyful), our Father knows it’s a process that takes time … and unless completed in the right order, will result in a temporary Band-Aid instead of a permanent change.
For me, I had to give God permission to teach me how to trust Him. Then He taught me how to look for the blessings even during difficult circumstances, then I was able to live a life of thankfulness in my everyday life, even when it looked nothing like I envisioned. Next, He was able to take fear out of the equation for me and then, after working with me on several other layers I needed help with, joy started returning.
As with the blessings/thankful lifestyle, it started small and gradually grew. I wrote Spoken from the Heart: God’s Joy Lasts a Lifetime which helps share the journey God took me on to reclaiming to an extent the Tigger attitude, replacing the downcast Eyeore who had come to visit, seeking a permanent residence.
For me, joy takes on many different forms. Sometimes it’s enjoying a cup of flavored coffee, loving the way it brings comfort through smell, warmth and taste but more importantly remembering the gift of love from whom I received it.
Other times it’s much simpler: enjoying a laugh with my husband and best friend, sharing a joke with one of my children or a walk with a friend.
Sometimes it overtakes me when I think about the vast love God has for me and He shows me a glimpse of the dream He’s making a reality in my life and that of my family’s.
What about you, friend? Do you feel joy on a regular basis and if so, what are some things that bring you joy? If not, is that something you want to ask God to bring into your life? Are you brave enough to ask God to start peeling away the layers of your life so that you can experience His full joy too?
Please reply in the comments below. I’d love to have a conversation with you.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018; re-posted to offer encouragement