I’m finding joy for forty days. To start from day one click here.
She sat on the couch, arms folded, head down. It seemed it took every bit of energy she had just to tell me about the pain in her heart and the depression slowly consuming her.
We talked, prayed, worked through things together over the next several months.
Her last session she bounced through the door, arms open, sparkle in her eyes. She had more than enough energy to pursue life and her passions.
I heard the verse, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) quoted in Sunday school many times. I always thought of it in vague, pie-in-the-sky terms.
And then I became a counseling intern who literally watched sadness strip my clients of strength. I also saw that strength return bit by bit, day by day, as joy slipped back into their lives.
Yes, there are times in life when it’s appropriate for me to feel sadness. I believe grief is a gift from God that helps us process the losses in our lives.
But in my life there are many times when I’m not facing a loss and I just choose to give up my joy for little reason at all.
I never realized that by choosing to give up joy I give up my strength as well. Then I go into life feeling weak and wonder why everything seems harder than it should be.
Have you ever had one of those days? You drag through it, stumble into bed, and stare at the ceiling asking, “Lord, why is life so hard?”
I have. And as I reflect on them, I realize that joy was nowhere to be found…or I wasn’t looking for it much.
It takes effort to find joy. Quite honestly, sometimes I don’t feel like it. Whining is really a lot more fun than joy-digging most of the time.
But I’m realizing I can either be worn out from looking for joy or worn out by life.
I lift weights and I’ve noticed that the ones I started with now seem lighter. I think it’s the same way with our burdens too. As joy becomes our strength, the load we have to carry seems less.
A popular bracelet says, “Live strong” but before that happens we’ve got to start by living joy…and sharing all of life with the One who gives it.
Speaking of bracelets, I’m giving the “I can do all things through Christ” bracelet shown above to Kirstin for signing up to be a subscriber this week (she was chosen by the random number generator).
Would you like to join me in the Joy challenge? Just share one thing that brings you joy. I’m having random giveaways for people who comment or subscribe during the forty days. And you never know when it could be you…