September was a rough month.
We’ve moved! Which is awesome, but it has been very physically exhausting (I despise the moving process).
My daughter brought a cold home from pre-school that has been circulating our family for the past few weeks (moving while sick is no fun).
There is a heaping pile of circumstances (that I’m not going to get into… and are completely separate from moving) which have left me emotionally drained. Think of every emotion you possibly can; chances are, I have experienced it, more than once, in the last month.
Maintaining joy has been a battle…
But wait – even in the midst of unpleasant circumstance, shouldn’t joy be something that comes completely natural? I am a child of the living God, holy and set apart unto Him, adopted as His daughter, seated with Christ in the heavenly places, sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of my heavenly inheritance that will never spoil or fade reserved in heaven for me! I have every reason to ALWAYS be filled with inexpressible, glorious JOY!..right?
So why the battle?!?
HERE ARE A COUPLE THINGS I’VE COME TO KNOW TO BE TRUE:
1. Lack of joy almost always originates from lack of His Word.
God has quite the sense of humor. I found one of my old journals while unpacking and was flipping through it and happened upon this page..
January 27, 2010 (at a time during one of our previous moves)
“Well, getting settled in the new house, I think I’m going to like it. It’s peaceful out here.
I was out of the Word for a few days from moving (horrible excuse, I know).. I can NOT do that! Made me realize how much I need it…”
It’s amazing how easy I forget!
Once again, I had not been feeding on the Word as I should. Not allowing it to refresh and transform my mind. Not meditating on His truth that sets me free from all worry, anxiety and fear and ushers me into fullness of joy.
Why is it that during times stress and busyness pile up I find it the easiest to make excuses to neglect His Word?..the very substance that sustains and strengthens me?!
The unfortunate thing about this is…I know better!
I know that I need His Word! I know that it is life to me.
“man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes
from the mouth of the LORD”
When I fall out of the Word my mind falls too – falls out of the eternal and into the temporal. My thoughts become fixed on the present circumstances – not on my future hope.
“..fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the
revelation of Jesus Christ.”
(1 Peter 1:13b)
2. Much of our battle for joy is in our mind!
I think a lot of the time we view life as venturing through a season of blessing or a season of trial. While this may have some truth, I believe that all seasons bring their share of both.
A pastor of mine once said that life is like the two rails to a train track. One rail represents blessing, the other represents trial. As we move along the tracks of this life, we will always travel forward with blessing. However, with the blessing there will also be trial.
Joy is always accessible – despite circumstances. We remain in it by what we choose to fix our mind on.
We can set our mind on the earthly trials or on our eternal blessings.
It is God’s Word that establishes my mind on the heavenly things. It is my sword, my battle weapon against those enemies who attempt to consume my mind and steal my joy.
One of my favorite places to turn, is to Paul’s epistle to the Philippinas. This letter is full of encouragement and inspiration to set our minds heavenward…
The word joy/rejoice is use 16 times in this book. What makes this amazing is that it was written from prison!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!..
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence
and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Thank you, Lord that my greatest and truest joy is found in knowing You.