As a new year approaches I have several friends who have chosen a “word for the year” and to them that word represents what their area of growth or encouragement is for the next 12 months. I’ve adopted this same tradition and before 2015 came to a close, I thought carefully about the area where I need to grow in and maintain. For me that word is JOY.
For the most part I’m known to be the encourager in a group, always smiling, always eager to be a resource of joy to and for others. However there are many times when my joy “tank” is empty and in those moments, I feel depleted and defeated and why is that? The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) Joy is not only essential for the benefit of serving and sharing with others, it is your personal source of strength!
Having a heart full of joy means you choose to look at life through a different set of lenses. Not the “rose colored” ones where everything is perfect but rather, vision to see beyond your present circumstance and find the faithfulness of God woven through your life’s story. I believe this is why according to Hebrews 12:2 Jesus was able to endure the cross. It was the joy that was set BEFORE Him. This tells me that joy has vision and it sees into the future!
As ladies let’s be aware of what can steal our joy. Now if you’re like me, when I get up in the morning I have my coffee and in those first few moments of a brand new day, all is well with the world. I have joy in my heart and then throughout the day the JK’s show up. JOY KILLERS!
I don’t know what your JK’s are maybe it’s slow moving drivers in rush hour traffic, perhaps it’s the “honey-do” list that continues to grow and those being “small” things, we know that people are facing even bigger Joy Killers like a loss of a loved one, failed relationship, financial pressure. Whatever is trying to rob you of your joy, recognize it, confront it and fight for your right to live your life with God’s joy!
My fiancé and I have been preparing for our wedding in less than 6 months and there was a scenario recently that completely stole my joy. In that moment, I didn’t even want my joy back and I wanted to be upset. Ever felt that way, before? My incredible fiancé had to remind me that I was not facing a disaster and I had an opportunity to choose how I would allow the “imperfect” to influence me. What a blessing to know we have a choice in how we respond to life’s situations!
I have decided to be committed to joy this year. This means I have the ability to access joy at any time. I heard a great scenario while visiting a church recently. The pastor stated that he hates it when his vehicle runs out of gas and here’s the reason why. When he runs out of gas it’s not because he has not passed by filling stations that could supply him with what he needed or that he didn’t have the resources in his account to access the fuel, it has been a matter of him being negligent in not accessing appropriately what was made available to him. He said it’s the same concept with our joy and peace. Jesus has provided access for us to tap into His joy and His peace but we have to make time and effort to obtain what He’s already provided. This was good news to me. This means I have the ability to access joy no matter what. Now, I may need a moment or two or fifty to remind myself but it doesn’t negate the fact that I have access to joy in my life at any given moment.
The Bible tells us that in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy! (Psalm 16:11) So while my situation may be less than glamorous, convenient or even fair, as I invite and acknowledge the presence of God throughout my day, I not only have the benefit of having God right there with me as my present help but He comes bearing gifts and joy happens to be just one of them.
Let’s start the New Year off with a commitment to joy and as we keep our joy tank filled, we’ll be a greater blessing to those around us as we freely share what we’re filled with!
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