I'm sorry again about last Saturday. And I'm semi-sorry about this week's post.
So, I was on a trip all last week. We left on Saturday and didn't get back till late Thursday night (technically Friday morning). I didn't wake up till 11 either, and my thoughts were everywhere. It has been a long week and I just couldn't write the post I wanted to.
I wish I could promise you that it'll be up next Saturday, but the honest truth is I'm really not sure. Life is hard right now, and my creativity is dulled.
Here's my explanation.
My best friend is moving across the country in two days. I don't get to see her today, but I'll get to see her tomorrow. I get to go to her house for the last time for a few precious hours, and then she'll be gone.
Understandably, I'm only semi-functional right now. I can't think about writing, and I haven't written. I can't think about world building, so I won't blog about world building.
I was in a state, trying to figure out what I should do. Write another post excusing my absence?
My dear friend Katie told me to write a personal post about what's on my mind. So that's what I'm going to do.
I made an unconscious goal at the beginning of this year to study the bible more. I found a new way of doing that, an obvious way that made me feel like The Most Stupid Idiot Ever. Like, how did I not think of this before?
I call it a concept study. You pick a concept and you study it. Simple, right?
I started with love.
Love has always fascinated me. It's such an overused word with so many meanings. The love I was interested in, however, was true love. God's love. So I did a study of the love of the Lord and what that looks like in our lives, etc.
Now, a lot of things have been happening in my life lately to bring on the sadness. I was really beginning to feel it, especially towards the beginning of this month when I found out my friend's house had sold and they had to be gone by the 30th.
I couldn't believe it. I can still hardly believe it. Why would God take my best friend away? Again?
You see, this has happened to me once before, so I know the feeling well. I know the hurt that comes after. The pain. The loneliness. It'll take weeks before I feel remotely like myself again, and even after that I will get hit with the pain of her being gone. It'll be worse now, too, since I'm much older. The first time I was only seven.
So that was when I felt called to explore joy (and realized I was beginning a study of the fruits of the spirit without even meaning to). This lead to a big question.
What is joy? What does joy look like in our lives?
These were two big questions that troubled me for several weeks.
If we have joy, does that mean we cannot be sad? Why was I feeling so sad
all the time? Was that wrong? Did that make me a bad Christian?
I slowly began to realize that joy and love are very similar.
They are both things you do in spite of your feelings. They are choices you
make, no matter what you feel. They are
decisions. They are actions. They are attitudes we put on because we know that
is how God wants us to live.
When we have the joy of the Lord, that means that no matter what we feel, we
can still have joy. It is never too far gone. Because our true joy comes from
the knowledge that we have a savior and an eternity with Him.
Joy is placing your faith in God to supply your peace and happiness. It’s
not putting your trust in earthly things. It’s putting your trust in God. In your
salvation. In the eternal.
But joy is more than just accepting everything in life and making the best
No, joy is falling on your face and praising God in any and all
This is one of many reasons joy is such a powerful thing. We as Christians
defy our emotions and we praise God for all things. As Christians, we take what
God gives us. Good and bad. And we praise Him for all of it.
This doesn’t mean we cannot grieve. This doesn’t mean we cannot be sad. But
it does mean that we don’t have to be sad. We don’t have to be grieved. We have
a hope. We have an eternity with the Lord in heaven. This life and all its
problems may seem huge now, but in the end it will be the blink of an eye. It will
all be over before we even realize it.
A big part of joy is trust. We must trust in God to provide and deliver what
Paul says in Philippians 4:11: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have
learned in whatever state I am to be content.”
Paul had the joy of the Lord. He had learned to take what life threw at him
and make the best of it. More so, to be content. But how is that possible? How can we be happy
and praise God when our best friends move away? When our loved ones die? When
we lose our jobs, when we are gossiped about and persecuted, how can we be
happy? How can we praise God and thank Him for that?
I think we find our answer in James 1:2-3. “My brethren, count it all joy
when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith
Trials. Trials help us grow. They test us and force us to learn. They shape
us and mold us, and if we take it the right way, they make us into better and
braver people. They help us connect with others in a way that nothing else can.
Who can connect to someone who has suffered the loss of a child better than
someone who has gone through that same trial?
I will conclude with this.
When hard times come your way and the world seems to have been flipped on
its head, you can still have joy.
Because we as Christians know that God is testing us. We are going through
this for a reason. Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and he
will direct your paths.”
God has a plan for you, and if you trust in Him, you just might discover the blessings hidden in the hardships.
Thank you for reading! Next week I’ll try to have part four of the To Create
a World series up. Be sure to bop in and check it out!
Do you have joy? Do you struggle with it? How would you define joy? Any additional thoughts? Please
share in the comments! (verses and quotes on joy are welcome too!)