Joy is a Conviction of My Mind Week 2
Welcome to another week of Choosing Joy.
This week we’ve taken a deep look into our own heart and mind. If we are honest, it’s not always pretty there is it?
I love the verses found in 1 Thes 5:16-18 because they are crucial to the heart that desires true joy.
They tell us to rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks!
This starts with determination. We must decide “do do” this because we are certainly not going to be “feeling” this.
Kay reminds us that “joy begins in the mind” and is ultimately how we respond to life.
So many things bring us great joy but those things can and sometimes will bring great sorrow.
People – The very same people that bring you the greatest joy will one day bring you more tears than you ever imagined. We are all human and we will disappoint…it’s just a matter of time.
Places – Not every place we travel to or explore will bring us the joy we thought it would. Sometimes, it simply isn’t all our heart imagines.
Possessions – Keep in mind just how miserable the “Hollywood” crowd often is. They have the nicest of things, shop in the greatest stores but often swim in great misery and pain.
Positions – In this day and age, positions come and go. Many who hold this as a source of joy will often find themselves discouraged.
Personality – Shy, awkward and backwards people can have just as much joy as the most outgoing extrovert you’ve ever met.
The good and the bad go hand in hand. Joy and sorrow are right there in the midst of all of these situations and it is our choice to let go of the high expectations of perfection and greatness that keep us pinned down and often miserable.
When we realize one fundamental thing, we’ll be able to start seeing and choosing joy in nearly everything.
JOY is in our heart, simply because Jesus is there.
When we look at the everyday with the knowledge that Jesus is in control, Romans 8:29, Jeremiah 29:11 and Eph 2:10 still hold true and that our hope is in the One who spoke this world into existence, then joy will not be as elusive as it once was.
Where is your heart at these days? Matthew 6:21 tells us that “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Have you ever really considered that Gods Will can be painful? I have, but this year it has hit home more than ever. As a mom, I treasure my children and want the best for them. My son is currently in the middle of God’s will, serving and seeking where God will use him as a Youth Pastor. You think…wow, that is wonderful Marie! Congratulations! And it IS wonderful….but at the same time, painful. This year will be his last year in college and the pain comes in that I simply miss him. I miss the hugs, the laughter, the jokes, and the silliness. I miss his serious when necessary side. I miss him. But this IS God’s will for him and there isn’t a single day that goes by that I’m not thankful for him being where he is.
Sometimes a period of darkness is God’s will for us as well. I’ve been there. It’s difficult, scary and we wonder if we’ll ever make it through. But we do and we are never alone.
I wrote an article a while back about peering into the darkness and what we see there.
What do we typically see in the darkness?
- Nothing…and in abundance
- Enhanced Pain (pain is always worse at night isn’t it?)
And I literally could go on and on because “SEEING” the negative is so much easier than seeing the positive in every situation.
We forget that our darkness is another way for our Lord and Savior to remind us that HE Lives! He lives in our darkness along side of us!
When you peer into the darkness KNOWING that God is with you, you’ll see:
- Peace that surpasses all understanding
- JOY unspeakable
- Light that brightens up the darkest of nights
- Hope, never ending
- Mercy, renewed each day
- Grace, marvelous grace
- Courage, because your Father HAS you
- Comfort, knowing you are not alone
- Faith, because HE will never leave you
It is a natural thing to fear the darkness and takes work to get to a place where we can see God there. But like Kay tells us, it starts in the mind….
Will you surrender to God in the Darkness? Will you believe that you will find treasures of joy, blessings and meaning there? Will you cling to God’s promise that HE will never leave you, even when you feel completely alone?
Remember Kay’s prayer “may the pain I am in push me toward a great passion for you and a greater joy in you.”
My daughter spent 5 years fighting a painful battle – Gastroparesis. Her stomach was paralyzed. She experienced flu symptoms every time she ate. Take your worst stomach flu, the cramping, the pain and aches and the vomiting and when she eats, that is what was happening. She had about a year where she only had the pain and she celebrated that! She loved that she could eat without the vomiting and pushed past the pain and just enjoyed each day. Then out of nowhere it returned. We now know that when she is under extreme emotional distress her stomach muscles will stop working and she can only drink liquids.
Will she use this pain to fuel her passion for the Lord? I don’t know. She trusts Him, she still lives and serves the Lord but all of this is hard for me to process, much less a (then) 17 year old mind.
I don’t know what God has in store for her, but I do know that HE is in control and I trust Him.
My prayer for you is that you’ll look for the good in the bad, the light in the dark and God’s hand in everything. Treasure the beauty in the ordinary and the little things in life that make it big!
Dwell on this – What are some of the little things in your life that make it big? Do you treasure them?
Remember, I’ve got JOY in my heart, because that is where Jesus lives!
Choose to answer any or all of the following questions:
- Think about a time of deep sorrow in your life, one that has passed. What treasure did you find?
- “God values character over comfort, faith over fear, mercy over judgment, justice over injustice, people over possessions, truth over falsehood, humility over pride, hope over despair, love over apathy.” Where did you see the value system of heaven in your life?
- What false sources of joy trap you? Is it people, places, possessions, positions or personality?
- What would it take for someone to describe you as a woman of joy?