Discovering Joy When It Feels MIA
I have a confession (and if you’ve been around here long enough, you might’ve heard me say it before). It’s a little ironic, considering that we’re focusing on delight this summer.
Some days, I just can’t seem to find joy. Real, deep, soul-level sunshine.
When I notice that heaviness in my heart, I start asking myself what’s going on. Am I worrying about my to-do list? Am I drowning in a trial?
Do I have to feel like this, or is there another way to process whatever is going on in my life?
Honestly, I know what I have to do. I get out my journal, my Bible and my favorite pens. I give myself some grace and let go of the to-do list that is screaming at me, and I remind my mind to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). It takes persistence to discover joy and delight, friends! Our hearts can be slow learners. And sometimes, we’re in situations that are really hard, and joy is coupled with sorrow. But we can help our hearts align with our Father’s heart by meditating on truth, even when we just feel like we’re going through the motions. We don’t usually know exactly what will reawaken us, so to get you started, here are two truths that help me — and might help you — discover joy.
1. Joy is not a to-do list item.
In fact, it’s often found far away from our to-do lists. Martha learned this the hard way. In Luke 10, we find that Martha has invited Jesus into her home, and while Jesus teaches, she is busy taking care of everybody. Her sister Mary is sitting, listening, at Jesus’ feet. When Martha complains that no one is helping her, Jesus tells her that Mary is the one gaining eternal benefit. Martha was probably checking items off her to-do list left and right, but all the to-doing was leaving her “anxious and troubled.” Jesus doesn’t reprimand her for creating a lovely home or environment for them to fellowship in. He does call her out on her anxiety of the situation, and He shows her through her sister that pausing to listen is the place where she will actually glean fruit.
When we’re anxious and troubled, let’s do a heart check and spend some time simply sitting at Jesus’ feet. Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Where are you anxious today?
What can you give God thanks for today?
How can you let God, who possesses the power of peace, be in charge today?
2. Jesus gave us His Word that He is bigger than any of the trials we face.
Sometimes I feel drained of delight because of circumstances beyond my control, and I wonder why God isn’t just mending everything right now. But John 16 says, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Jesus knew that in a fallen, sinful world, we’d continue to have hardships. But He provided the ultimate solution to a diseased world: eternal life. I am learning more and more the value of keeping my eyes up. Meaning I need to keep my eye on the reality that heaven, not earth, is our true home. The most unchangeable source of joy is the knowledge that one day our tears will be wiped away. Until then, there will be days when we feel both joy and sorrow. And that’s OK. Jesus has already won this battle for us.
And after pondering these things, I start to see a glimpse of light — sometimes, even a full sunbeam. I hope that’s the case for you, too!
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