Here I sit, in the Easter Seals lobby. Extra large Miami Dolphins coffee mug in hand, laptop in front of me, headphones on with Israel & Newbreed’s latest song “My Strength” blasting in my head phones.
“You’re the joy no one can take away, You’re the peace inside I can’t explain! You’re the strength I need, you will always be my strength!”
I will admit to you that I am openly dancing in my seat! Honestly, these people are lucky I have enough self-control to not be clapping or, worse, singing along. So much joy right now.
I am not in a party environment. The joy level here is zero. The parent/guardian/caregiver faces are not celebratory. The whispered conversations seem foreboding. I wonder if the passer-bys think maybe my coffee mug has a little whiskey in it for good measure.
The stark contrast between my attitude, and the circumstance surrounding me is not one I take lightly. In this moment I am keenly aware that what is going on deep inside my soul doesn’t match the situation. It’s like I’m wearing a white sundress and gold sandals in January (OK, that’s a mid-west reference that my Florida girls totally won’t get).
This post isn’t to brag about my great attitude, it is to challenge you to open the tap on your own personal reservoir of Joy and stop letting your circumstance determine your mood. Being a special mom CAN make every moment somber. Truly, even at the most fun celebrations imaginable, a special mom can draw up a multitude of reasons to feel a little blue. Certainly in every day life, there are constant struggles that would seem to make Joy inappropriate. It’s not. It’s vital.
Joy appears in the Bible 214 times. As I scrolled through them, I noticed something very interesting. A great many of the occurrences were during a negative situation. For example, “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength!” is from Nehemiah 8:10. I read backwards, to see what was behind their joy and found that they were all weeping! They were in distress at the moment Nehemiah delivered that proclamation. Over and over again, the admonition to joy was in the midst of un-joyful circumstances. So there is something about joy that often coincides with bad. In the book of Psalms Joy is most often a mandate, not an option or a result. My favorite part of joy is when it is the answer to your problem, the key to open whatever has been holding you captive. In Acts 16, joy literally broke the chains off of prisoners and opened jail cells. There was no reason to have joy. You would think: the prison shook open and THEN they were filled with joy! No – then they were happy. But while still in jail they summoned their joy and it overwhelmed their captor and released them from jail.
Dear friend, today remember your Joy. It’s there! Don’t let circumstances drown it out, let your Joy determine your circumstance. Stir it up, put on some praise music, read some joy scripture (you have 214 to choose from) or take a moment to just meditate on God’s love for you and the joy He freely gives. Whatever you face today, Joy can be the answer.
p.s. Joy is deep inside you, at all time accessible in the person of Jesus Christ. If you want it, but aren’t a believer, it’s really easy (and life-changing) to get it. Here’s a prayer to get you started: “God, I want joy, peace and hope to dwell inside me. So I ask you to send Jesus into my heart, to remove the sin and replace it with His presence. I am no longer a slave to fear but am now a child of yours. Be with me, guide me, and fill me with Joy!”
If you just said that prayer for the first time, please send me a note 🙂 So I can pray for you and help you with some next steps, to keep you moving forward in the Joyful life!