Over the years, it has been quite a challenge to understand what it meant to have Joy in my heart. Many times I felt that I was so ungrateful to God because my most dedicated time in his presence began only when a tragic or very sad moment occurred. I knew that I loved Jesus with all of my being, but my relationship with him was based on so many moments of despair, that I did not know how to show him my true love and sacrifice when things turned around for the better.
There were many times when I asked Jesus for a level of understanding of his word and his meaning in my life. I wanted and longed with all of my heart to seek him in spirit and in truth, but often times felt that my love for him was very circumstantial and hypocritical. I started to dig into the word and realized that what I was experiencing was a true love for him, because in my heart I have always desired to serve him, but I wanted to love, thank him and feel joy for all he’s done even when things were going wrong. I decided to dig deeper.
Many may argue that joy and happiness are very much alike, and when thought about in a very simple way, it can be. As followers of Christ, we must always remember that our joy in him is not dependent on any material possessions, but more so on our spiritual walk and personal relationship with him. Happiness, unlike Joy, is very dependent on material possessions and occurrences that bring temporary glee and peace. We are not meant to find true joy in the possession of good things, but on a deep connection with Christ that elevates our lives in the good and bad, as we are fortunate enough to have a loving father that gives us many gifts regardless of how they are foreseen.
It is important to change the panorama of our hearts and allow our minds to join in and focus on God’s eternal promise for our lives. So much that we are able to experience extreme happiness, as well as extreme sadness and still have a joy that is overflowing.
As a mom of two, wife and entrepreneur, the struggle of feeling alone and the constant negative voices of not being able to do more than one thing, without the other crumbling down right next to me, is so real. I am here to tell you that, God has called us to be partners, wives, mothers and with the intelligence, willpower and strength to withstand. With his power and love for us, we can do anything. Being able to experience a level of Joy, that can only come from Jesus when you are feeling low, and your spirit is downcast, is amazing. I’ve experienced many breakthroughs and if God has been gracious in my life, he can surely be gracious in yours. When you allow your heart to practice rightful behaviors, the desolate, discouraging and sad moments will lessen more and more and your relationship with God will continue to not only grow, but flourish.
In Proverbs 17:22 it speaks about joy. It states; “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” This means that when you find joy, you find peace and that peace is not dependent on a current situation. It is dependent on the decision you have made to be on the other side of negativity. It is very easy to allow negative feelings and thoughts to overtake your life. There are a few things that we can do to set our minds and body in the correct path each day, so that we are not only seeking God when life seems to be upside down.
A few of my daily practices are:
1. When I wake up in the morning, I do my best to show up with a grateful heart. You do this by thanking God for the mere act of waking you up.
2. I list out the negative versus the positive things in my life. I write it out on paper and see that the good always outweighs the bad.
3. (How am I certain? If God allowed me to wake up in the morning today, this alone lets me know that my life is meant for something much greater than yesterday.)
4. I am no longer afraid to speak into existence what I want to accomplish and where I see complete fulfillment in my life. The more I speak positive words out loud, the more life I give to the joy I long to experience with fullness.
Stay encouraged, God is right where you are, holding out his hand to hold you in the exact way, moment and time that you need his embrace.
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From your sister and friend,