Monday, June 08, 2009

The Choice for Joy

I've been burdened with joy recently. Sounds strange, right? I'll explain:

I've been doing some real scripture-searching and self-analysis. This is rarely fun, but neither is the alternative! You see, lately I find myself short-tempered with my girls, discontent with day-to-day routines, and in general not exuding a joyful spirit. I know y'all have no idea what I'm talking about, but just humor me. *wink!* I purposed in my heart last week to make the choice for joy. Here's some of what I've been meditating on...

  • A truly joyful heart is a choice, not a spontaneous feeling. Okay, this one I already knew. Obviously. In Psalm 35, David pleads with God for protection from his enemies... for the entire chapter. He calls on God for justice on his behalf, and basically just begs, "Help me!" But right in the middle of all that intense pleading are these 2 little verses, verses 9 & 10. "My soul will be joyful in the Lord; it will rejoice in His salvation. All my bones will say, "Lord who is like You, Who delivers the poor from him who is too strong for him...?" Clearly, David had no logical reason to be joyful. He made it a decision of his will.
  • I have great reason to rejoice! I've had my eyes focused on the here-and-now, rather than the eternal. My perspective has been on the snapshot of today, when it should be on the infinite, wonderful work that God has performed in my life. Isaiah 61:10: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness..." What a Joyous Perspective! How can I get rattled over spilled milk (literally!), dirty dishes, and waning energy... when I've been given such beautiful, holy clothing as this?! If anyone has reason to rejoice, certainly I.
  • Strength is synonymous with joy. You know, one of my biggest complaints in this season of life is that strength & energy are vvvvvery hard to come by. Now, I know you all know what I'm talking about! Here I've been wishing and hoping and praying for stamina... whether in the form of a nap, a really healthful meal, early bedtime, whatever. And yet strength remains so elusive. What a revelation it was when I read this verse I've known for a hundred years, Nehemiah 8:10: "...the joy of the Lord is your strength." My eyes just about popped out of my head and onto the floor. Naps do not equal strength. (Fill in the blank) does not equal strength. God-given joy equals strength. Ultimately, when my spirit and attitude aren't joy-filled, then my energy & stamina will unquestionably become sapped.
  • Remember the places to find joy. Psalm 16:11 reads, " Your presence is fullness of joy..." And on the other side of that coin is Jeremiah 15:16, "Your Word was unto me to the joy and rejoicing of my heart..." We can find joy in God's presence, and in God's Word. Other places, too, but these are probably the best 2 places to start!

~~~~~~~~~What has God been teaching you lately?~~~~~~~~~


Mary Ann said...

Amen, Karen! I was also recently reminded that the joy of the Lord is the source of my strength. I've been trying to fill my mind with joy-songs recently - even if they are little kid, children's church kind of songs. It really does encourage me in the Lord. Thanks for being so transparent here :-)

Stacey said...

What a true blessing your post was for me today. I've been going through a little down time, feeling as if every little thing is taking more and more out of me, dealing with a lot of things back at home ect. My husband preached Friday at church on the things that give us tempral happiness but that does not equal joy.

Thank you for reminding me yet again that my strength comes from the Lord and Joy equals strength.

Be encouraged also that you are in a stage of Motherhood that requires a lot of you not to mention you are expecting which can also be taxing in itself.

I would say the things I've been meditating on from the Lord is that every word that comes out of my mouth should be edifying, if I have nothing good to say then I probably should not say it:-) I must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19)

ruth said...

Karen, you have no idea what an encouragement this post has been to me. Thank you for allowing God to teach you this lesson and for communicationg it here!

Kelley said...

Hi Karen, Just snooping on your posts again :-) You really are an encouragement! I have been struggling with this very thing! Our pastor preached a wonderful message Sunday night about 1 Cor. 13 and how it's impossible for us to live out that kind of love unless we are letting Christ live through us. He went through and explained the dynamics of what each verse really means. If you get a free moment (ya right!) you should read it and really consider the passage. So encouraging. He had us put a Christ filled life in place of love because in reality that is what love is - showing Christ through our actions. Of course I failed the test miserably, but it has renewed my desire and commitment to live out Christ in my life with the top priority being my husband and children. Anyway, thanks for your posts - I often come to them after I have had a long day so that I am reminded to see the sunny side of life in my own life! Thanks!
Kelley Kuehn (Babcock)

Shyla said...

needed that!(especially the strength part!) thanks, k!