I have a confession to make.
I’m a joy deserter.
If I’m around someone who is angry, I desert my joy and get steamy too. If my husband or my kids are bummed out, I crawl right down in the pit with them.
What good is that?
What is benefited if I give up my joy and get all covered in the slim of anger or discouragement too?
Yet often that is exactly what I do: give joy up.
So far I’ve had three weeks of studying joy and it’s really challenged me!
Jesus said that when His Holy Spirit came to live inside us “no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22b)
Joy is not something that can be taken from me; that must mean that if I don’t have joy, I must have given it up!
Right now, I am sitting in the airport. It’s Saturday night and my flight has been delayed…twice. I am surrounded by many, many extremely unhappy and anxious people; giving away their joy because of bad weather. As I type, the lady behind me yells at her husband; as if it is his fault.
There is a part of me that wants to join them! A part of me, wants to crawl in the pit and get angry too. But, more than that, I want to make “imperfect progress” as Lysa TerKeurst and learn to hang on to joy, even if I do spend the night in the airport tonight.
So, I turn my thoughts away from the circumstances right before and turn to all that I have to be really thankful for today.
Thankful for a great morning with the women and teens in Germantown, Maryland; for the lives who learned today, maybe for the first time, just how crazy Jesus is about them!
Thankful for my husband and children that I am blessed to be able to go home to.
Thankful that though I am alone in this airport, I really truly am not alone.
Only the power that comes from the Holy Spirit can give us the strength we need to avoid the pits of anger or discouragement. “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 That strength comes when we replace the stinky thinking in our mind with the truth of God’s word and words of thankfulness.
Jesus’ desire is for us to experience each day, no matter what is going around us, his joy. “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (John 17:13)
I saw this in the most beautiful way through my friend, Bonnie. Bonnie was diagnosed with breast cancer just a week into making the desire to homeschool her children last fall. Even in the face of the strongest of joy robbers, Bonnie leaned on Jesus and held on to her joy. What an inspiration she has been to me!
Friend, something is going to get up in your face and try to steal your joy today. You’ve got a choice: give it away or lean hard on the Holy Spirit and hang on. I’m hanging on…you can too!
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