Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!”
I’m sorry I’m so late today! I was up late last night and and am running behind on everything it seems (one of those days!). One of my closest friends was struggling with some issues yesterday and we talked through them until the end late hours of the night. At one point, after the tears had stopped flowing, they said to me, with a refreshed look after getting traction with God, “I’m not going to be depressed. I’m choosing joy.” That sentence stuck with me. What a beautiful way to put it.
I’ve had this person I’ve been struggling with lately. We’re super close, but we pick at each other, like vultures, we just fight. For no reason at all. I was mulling ovee some of the hurtful things that I’ve heard from them this morning driving to work. I’m brewing in anger, again useless to do, and I just heard that line from last night…”I’m choosing joy.”I had this whole conversation with God after that about how I refuse to choose joy in this person because of how they’ve hurt me and I just really can’t choose joy with them, they aren’t making me happy right now. And I heard God say, “I don’t want you to choose joy in them. I want you to choose joy in me and from my forgiveness and love for you, for you to forgive and love them. And your joy for your love for them will flow out from Me.” Wow. Mind blown. That made it easy! I can always find joy in Jesus. His love is this lovely oasis in a desert, it’s a secret place of enjoyment I can go to deep inside me where his Spirit lives. Psalm 84:5,
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
And Isaiah 35:10,
And those Yahweh has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Just like this verse from Isaiah and Psalm 84, I will come into the highway to Zion, to the roads in my heart leading home to our Fathers’s house where his Spirit lovingly lives and is my guide and traveller and beloved. There in that joy I find strength and renewal to love someone I have struggled with. I can choose joy, not because of self help or self determination, but because of Jesus. Just Jesus.
Maybe you’ve had someone you’ve struggled with, hurtful arrows have been shot at each other, wounding the heart and mind, but you love them dearly, darn it!! I found out when I’m trying to recover with God, to get back on track, I can find renewal in Jesus’ joy and love, to forgive, to better myself in Christ and through Christ, and begin the healing work needed on critical relationships in my life that can become damaged through sin.
God bless you so SO much today with his JOY!! I don’t know any of you personally, but I know you are loved by Jesus like CRAZY and I really hope if you are struggling with someone, his joy will permeate you and and the ones you struggle with sometimes. You all are wonderful because to u are loved by him! Don’t forget that!!