Monday, November 24, 2014

I Choose Joy

I like to write about joy these days. I like to say out loud: the joy of the Lord is my strength, and, may the God of all hope fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him--then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. It's because of experiencing the flip side of hope, joy, and peace that I so adoringly speak these words very often now. It's because I remember those days of constant, underlying uneasiness, of dread, shame, anger, fear, resentment, hopelessness, etc., that I now embrace this peace and joy today. 
Don't get me wrong. I still have times I'm utterly disgusted with my "human-ness." I have days that are difficult and hard. I have mood swings. Sometimes it's predictable; other times it hits from nowhere. It can stem from the pressure of a busy season. Sometimes it's the basic physiology of being a female. The thing I like to remind myself is that the good days far outweigh the bad days. Even in the harder days, I search for goodness in the details of whatever is going on. Whether it's the storm brewing on the outside or the battle raging inside, there is still a calm, peaceful place to be found when God is your center. 
Of all the power, counsel, comfort, help, strength, advocacy, and interceding--which is what each believer has through the Holy Spirit--I stay first and foremost amazed at the joy we can experience (despite circumstances!) All the grasping I did to try and force some happiness was futile those days before salvation. No wonder! I tried on my own. How exhausting to even think we can control things in our life!
I want to encourage anyone who understands that heaviness of heart, that unexplained feeling that something will go wrong, or that underlying sadness that just shouldn't be there. First and foremost, you must be born again. (see John 3:3, as Jesus answered these questions for Nicodemus) If you are born again, but often battle depressed feelings or undercurrents of sadness or unrest, God is your ever-present source of help. Maybe it's hormones, and a doctor's wisdom could help. Maybe it's diet, and you know what to do but keep making unwise choices. I would say (from experience) that if you still just have an unhappiness about you, it's quite possible that you are grieving the Holy Spirit. 
Ephesians 4:30 in the Amplified Bible says not to grieve, offend, vex, or sadden the Holy Spirit of God. When you read the next two verses it lists things that will grieve Him (like bitterness, indignation, wrath, rage, bad temper, anger, animosity, quarreling, brawling, clamor, contention, slander, evil-speaking, malice, ill will, or abusive, foul, polluting, blasphemous language.)
If you're a believer, you have the Spirit of God living on the inside of you. Some of us habitually and constantly think, say, watch, and do things that are grieving our inner Spirit. 
May you be encouraged to think about your choices, think about where your life is headed, think about what's been on your mind, think about how you talk, and be guided by the Holy Spirit to make eternity your focus so you can truly enjoy here and now. God bless you!


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