Well, sweet friends, I must be honest with you: I have been procrastinating sitting down to write about joy for about as long as I possibly can.
It's like JOY is a loaded word right now. It's like my heart doesn't even want to go there right now because mostly I just feel tender; mostly I'm just lamenting; mostly I'm just crying out; mostly I'm just in need.
I resonate a lot with Gay's article and maybe you do, too. It doesn't take much time to scroll social media, catch a glimpse of the news or to talk with neighbors and family and friends to see a great deficit of joy in our world right now.
When I think of joy, I think of just a fullness and at the same time, a weightlessness. Joy is overwhelming. Joy is like surface tension: have you ever seen drops of water on the surface of a coin? The water just fills and fills and fills until it makes almost a dome shape and somehow, it stays intact. Somehow it doesn't burst- but it's filled to the brim and just ready to burst.
I can think of many times when my insides have felt just like that surface tension looks, like I could just burst. I cannot contain myself. The tension of being held in is too much and I just want to spill that joy over onto all around me!! What good does this joy do if I don't release it?? I have to do something with it!
Although this particular season has not exactly been marked by the fullness, lightness and tension that I envision joy to be, this does not mean that joy has been absent. I am still learning about true joy that is found in the Lord; He is still teaching me.
In this wrestling with joy, friends, the Lord did something so unexpected and ridiculously beautiful.
One day a couple of weeks ago, I woke up full of joy. Just. FULL. Everything seemed different to me; brighter, more beautiful, more hopeful. I wondered about it, especially since the day before had seemed like a real battle with heaviness and darkness.
The next day, as I scrolled my Facebook memories, there was a message from a sweet woman I had befriended eight years ago that day. As soon as I saw it, my heart leaped and I immediately understood what had happened.
The day before, eight years ago, was the day that I surrendered my life to Christ.
I had forgotten, but God remembered.
He cared enough to remind me.
And my soul needed to celebrate with Him.
Just as I was filled with joy that day eight years ago, like a dam bursting in my heart; so was there joy in heaven over my repentance and salvation (Luke 15:7).
Sisters, if we are feeling weighed down by our circumstances, maybe we need to cry out to the Lord: “Restore unto me the joy of your salvation.” (Psalm 51:12)
Maybe what the Lord had to say to the church in Ephesus is for us today, too: “I know that you have persevered and endured hardships for the sake of my name, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” (Revelation 2: 3-5a)
When I surrendered, when I was saved, on my knees and face tear-stained at the altar on June 3, 2012, I was radically changed. It was perceptible. I was eager. I went home and immediately began seeking His face with a hunger. I longed for more of Jesus, I did everything I could think of to get to know my Savior, this Lover of my soul. He permeated every part of my heart, my soul and my life. In an instant. With just one look.
I had found this Jesus to be real, to be true. He is magnificent. He is better than anything in this world; He is even better than I can imagine, even now.
So, then: have we in some way or another abandoned the love we had at first?
Let's return to Him with repentance. We will surely receive refreshment for our weary and overwhelmed souls.
Be still, sister, and sing this to the King of your heart.
I'm still in love
You're still enough for me
Still all I want
You're still my everything
No one ever cared for me like Jesus
His faithful hand has held me all this way
And when I'm old and gray
And all my days are numbered on the earth
Let it be known
In you alone
My joy was found
I've found my joy.
WRITTEN BY: OLIVIA CALDWELL
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