“How are you?” may be one of the most loaded questions that often receives the most surfaced response.
Can we bypass the surface response and get straight to the heart of the matter? It is a season of joy, hope, cheer (or so they say) and so I’m asking you how you are. Why? Because sometimes we aren’t doing well, and I’m not talking about the self-pity, bad day kind of mood but the “life is just really hard” reality of your life today. In order to heal, we have to walk this out honestly with ourselves and God.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
My oldest recently went through a traumatic time in her life. As her parents, we are teaching her it is important to talk about the trauma so her heart can heal. What we are learning from her is that kids and adults really aren’t much different: we think it’s better for us to avoid pain by not talking about it, it’s easier to ignore painful realities (that we can’t erase) and hope that it will all just go away.
The problem is, the pain doesn’t go away unless we address it. We often remind our daughter that, even though it doesn’t feel good, talking about this pain will help fill your heart heal and fill will joy again. You see, we want her to speak out the sadness so we can help teach her to cover it with truth.
When we avoid and ignore, our hurting heart causes us to believe lies that often gets fed when we keep our pain inside. Lies that say, “God didn’t really protect you”, “if God loved you then…”, “you are worthless and that just proves it”, “if God was really good then why”. Satan is the father of lies and he loves lying to you by causing you to question the goodness of your Savior (John 8:44).
So, my friend, how are you this season?
If you aren’t doing well, I want to share some hope with you, the truth that you can cloth your mind with when you start to doubt the goodness of God: the joy of the Lord.
While it’s easy to think of joy in fickle terms like happiness, it’s so much more than that. Joy, for Christians, runs deeper than happiness and something we can have regardless of our circumstances. In order to take the full gift of joy, we have to train our minds to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable (Philippians 4:8). In Jesus, joy is ours for the taking and so I ask, are we taking hold of his joy? Would you be willing to make a change and shift your focus to something different, the joy of the Lord? Grab some coffee, sit with me here, and let’s discover what this kind of joy really is all about. When you are done here, grab God’s word, open it and find more of this joy. Ask him to show you what this joy is all about.
Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Psalm 4: 7 “Fill my heart with joy”
Psalm 119:111 “Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.”
Isaiah 35:10 “and those the Lord 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.
John 15:10-11 “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”
1 Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
3 John 1:4 “ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
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