Filled with Greater Joy

Hopefully, most everyone has noticed by now that Tender, Kind & Refined has been moved to Filled with Greater Joy. I’ve been thinking about changing the name for a while, but I couldn’t come up with a title that I was satisfied with until now. I’ve been meaning to write an explanation behind this change earlier, but I’ve been super busy (and a bit lazy) so here it finally is!

joy

Joy is such an important concept to me, and it’s also something I’ve always really struggled with. I’ve always admired people who can go through every day with a smile of their face, while their heart is actually shattered on the inside. I can imagine that takes an incredible amount of strength, and also an incredibly strong foundation in their faith, and it’s something that I’ve never succeeded in doing.

Without going into a ton of detail, I become overwhelmed extremely easy. All the sadness and heartache in the world really lies heavy in my heart, and sometimes I let it engulf me.

It seems like someone is always getting hurt, someone is always going through tragedy, people die, people are starving, people hurt each other, and it seems like it never ends. These are the streams of thought that almost constantly go run through my mind. And because of this, joy seems far from my soul at times.

But that’s just this world- and this world is not my home.

And I know that God can overcome anything and everything.

I recently ran across this verse:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18

This is it, y’all this is the verse! Can you believe that I’ve gone all this time trying to embrace this concept, but had never come across this verse??

Yeah. Me neither.

And it seems like now that I’ve discovered it, I keep seeing it pop up everywhere. Funny how things happen like that, you know?

Though everything in my life that could possibly go wrong may be going wrong, I will still rejoice in my savior.

THIS HAS BEEN ON MY HEART FOR SO LONG, Y’ALL.

Because it’s important. And also, because it’s difficult.

We are creatures of habit. We are creatures of routine. We are creatures that desire everything to go according to our way, our wants, and our time frame. We want perfection, and we want it quickly and effortlessly. So when we don’t get our way, when we don’t get perfection, when things are hard to do and they take a long time or maybe they seem impossible, we crumble.

Maybe the fig tree that won’t bud is actually you feeling as if your talents and abilities are going to waste.

Maybe your lack of sheep in the pen and cattle in the field is actually a lack of digits in your bank account or the scarcity of food that you can put on the table.

Maybe the fields that produce no food are actually the hours of time you put into something you care about, and you never see the fruits of your labor.

Maybe the lack of grapes on the vine is lack of sustained friendships or family relationships.

But you can still rejoice in your Savior- you can still be joyful in the Lord.

Because the very fact that you have air in your lungs and a beating heart is enough to rejoice. The fact that you wake up every morning with Jesus by your side is more than enough to be grateful for. Whatever you have in life, whether it is a lot or a little by the world’s standards, it is still more than you deserve and it is still a tremendous blessing.

We deserve nothing, so the fact that we have anything at all should be motive enough to celebrate our life in Christ every single day.

On my journey here to being filled with greater joy, I’ve learned that when I slip into a funk or start throwing myself a little pity party, counting my blessings always helps. Literally. I begin a mental list of things that I am thankful for. Sometimes, it’s even more helpful to actually write it down, because I have a visual representation of how much I am blessed with.

I recognize now that despite what whirlwind of devastation is going on around me, my joy and contentment come from God, not outside circumstances. I recognize that comparing my life to anyone else’s shatters my joy. I’m learning that joy is beautiful and contagious and extremely important for someone following after Jesus. My goal is have true lasting joy throughout my life, no matter what surroundings or struggles come my way.

My goal is to live my life filled with greater joy.

 

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