Choosing Joy

At 25 I left my family to move to a new city.  I started my first full-time job. Over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly aware of our sinfulness and how broke we are apart from God.  I’ve processed the change of close friendships, including the loss of one. I experienced many changes over the last eight years. One of those changes was living with roommates to living alone. I quite enjoy the solitude. Still, changes can take a toll on you. I have witnessed the deep pain people carry, walked with some of those people and have experienced for myself pain, sadness, crippling fears and even moments of loneliness.  Perhaps as a result to all of these occurrences, I lost some of my innocence and spark. These days I’m feeling tired physically, emotionally and even spiritually.

I have come to the realization that I am the only one that can fight for my joy. Sure, it’s Jesus who gives it, but I need to want it for myself.  No one else will do that for me. Being an eternal optimist and having been raised by a mother who taught her daughters to be grateful for all things, no matter how small, it’s not hard for me to see beauty around me.  But I get it now, that life is hard and that at times joy and even hope can seem elusive. Yes, because of what Jesus did at the cross they always exist but sometimes we feel like we are walking in complete darkness with no light to guide us.

At 33 I don’t see the world through rose colored glasses like I did when I was 20.  I have a few bruises from life. I have witnessed the ugliness of sin, but I also understand grace more clearly.  I know who I am better. I also know who my God is better. He and I have walked some hard roads together. There is more trust on my end.  There is more awareness of his faithfulness in my life because I’ve seen it over and over again. He’s the only one who will ever completely get me and the one my heart wants and needs the most.  Christ is enough for me. I sang those words this morning at church and I truly believe them.

I have been on a journey over the last couple of years to regain some of that spark lost.  God knows how he wired me. He knows that I love words. He continually uses words to draw me to himself. Words like seek, revival and joy are only some of the words that have popped up.  I read a book about a year ago called Choose Joy, by Kay Warren. Kay writes about how joy is available to every believer.  It’s a gift that God has given to us once we have accepted his Son as Saviour and Lord.  However, many of us don’t tap into this amazing gift. I want to tap deeper. What about you? Where are you at with joy?

One of my absolute favorite verses on joy is found in Psalm 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Yes Lord, please restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Are you experiencing his joy to the maximum? Or do you first want to know about his salvation? I urge you to talk to God about where your heart is at. He will never turn away a sincere heart trying to seek him.