I’ll be honest. I’ve been struggling to find joy lately. The post marathon blues are real. I feel like a loser because it’s taking my body a while to get back into my base running shape. I miss my son at college and can’t wait for him to come home for the holidays, but I know he will be crazy busy! It’s getting dark at 5:00 pm. It’s been cold and wet and cloudy for DAAAYYYYYYZZZZZZZZ. My toenails are black. The calendar for the next month is INSANE with everyone running 100 different directions. There’s so much to do and I’m struggling with apathy. We had an ice storm and lost power for 20 hours and had to sleep at my moms which reminded me of the time we had to leave our home for 8 days because of lack of power during an ice storm and the whole experience filled me with GLOOM. I HATE FEELING LIKE THIS!
I was having a pity party thinking, Well, it’s pointless to write a blog post this week. My blog is supposed to be all about choosing JOY and I seriously DON’T FEEL LIKE IT! Then I remembered…
Joy is a choice.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I’ve always loved that quote. The world tells us that people or things or status or hobbies should fulfill us or make us happy. That, my friends, is a bold face lie.
See these people? I love them. They make me laugh like crazy and I would gladly give my life for theirs. But is it their job to make me happy or give me joy? Nope. In fact, I know they will fail. I know they will make mistakes. I know they will disappoint me. It shouldn’t come as a shock and I can’t let it dictate my happiness for that given day.
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! — Philippians 4:4
And see this cute little house with the porch light ON? (Our neighbor sent us this late last night to let us know we finally had power again). It’s job is not to bring us happiness. I’m more than grateful for it, but it’s a thing. A new home or a bigger home or a mansion for that matter can’t bring you joy. Sure, it’s fun to get new and better things, but that fun feeling is fleeting and goes away quickly. So then the temptation comes to keep chasing that high. I see it in a lot of teens… and I see it in a lot of adults too. I promise you… that new house, new car, new shoes, new whatever might make you excited for a nano-second, but it will not bring you joy.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. —Psalm 16:11
Things break or become old. People disappoint us and eventually, they will pass away. Nothing is guaranteed… not even the next breath we take. BUT, there is ONE THING we can count on for our source of JOY. God.
May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13 (emphasis added).
I was pretty homesick when I walked into my little house last night to pack my things. I didn’t know when we would be getting power or get to come home. Like I said, the last ice storm we had kept us displaced for over 8 days! But I looked at my little scripture board in my kitchen:
And took a deep breath and thanked God for our little home that I love and for my family being safe. I thanked Him that we had a warm place to go for the night. I thanked Him that this was our biggest problem of the day… things could always be so much worse.
Today, I’m feeling much more joyFUL. I’m so amazed at how much God is patient with me. He listens as I gripe and complain and then gently guides and corrects me. I think about how many times I’ve thrown up my hands in frustration with my kids and walked away. God NEVER walks away. He never becomes frustrated, even when I do the same mistakes time and time again. He’s so patient and gentle. He doesn’t let me continue the behavior without a stern conviction and redirection of my thoughts, though :). What an awesome God we serve.
Are you struggling to find Joy today? Do me a favor… First, list all of the things you have to be grateful for. I know sometimes it feels like there isn’t anything, but I promise you, there is. And pray for God to open your eyes to the things to be grateful for. As you begin to feel that gratitude, praise God for how He has blessed you. Look for ways you can bless others and see a smile come to their face. Give grace to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Smile at strangers. Walk your shopping cart back inside the store and watch the employees scratch their heads. Pay for the car behind you in the drive through or the table next to you at the restaurant. Do something for someone that they could never repay. These things bring about so much joy! Much more joy than a new iphone or bigger house, trust me!