This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. ~ Neh 8:10b
This week was the ‘Week of Joy’ in my leadership class for Revelation Wellness. I really felt that this week was going to be touchy-feely and a little too fluffy for my taste.
Then I read the verse above. And my attitude changed. Right away, I connected the sugar-coated joy word with contentment and peace. An ability to live a life of being settled no matter what life throws at you. No matter what hard decisions you face. No matter what obstacles you have to maneuver around.
I have talked before about the overwhelming peace I had when my first husband unexpectedly passed away. I felt prepared for the Lord to take him. I felt totally at peace that I would be ok. I never doubted that the Lord’s hand was in that situation. I fully trusted that losing Chad wasn’t a surprise to God and that He wouldn’t leave me.
How could I possibly feel that way? How could my joy remain in such heartbreaking circumstances?
Because I was snuggled tight into the embrace of my Heavenly Father. The years leading up to Chad’s death were years spent in daily prayer and bible reading. Daily reading of how to be the best me I could be. How to live in the fruit of the spirit. How to emulate the Proverbs 31 woman. How to be the wife and mom that God desired of me. It was so hard, but it brought me continous joy. It made me content in my circumstances. It gave me peace.
Over the last year, God keeps giving me the words “be still”. Lately, “abide” has been added to that command. As I have so many new, good, positive things happening, it’s hard for me to just chill and spend time with Him.
Those on the outside push and push that to move yourself along, you need to take action and move. Nothing will happen for you if you don’t actively seek it. As I feel that I’m finally finding my purpose in this life, I am having a hard time pulling back. I feel like I have so much to do that I’m spinning my wheels. I don’t know what to do first. Because of this, I am starting to feel chaotic again. I’m starting to lose my cool too much. I’m becoming overly sensitive. I’m getting frustrated at what I haven’t yet done, yet I take no action to move anything along.
My joy (peace, contentment) has been stolen. Things look good on the outside and I really do have so many new exciting things to share, but the vastness of it all has me spinning.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. ~ John 15:4
This week of studying joy reminded me that in my greatest struggle and heartbreak, I was peaceful and even joyful because I was completely and fully surrendered to God’s will for my life. I was abiding (to act in accordance with) in Him. He prepared me because I was in a relationship with Him and I could hear His voice in that situation.
I haven’t been able to hear that voice lately. My life is too loud. That is what will happen if you stop abiding. If you stop being still and taking time to know Him.
I know it’s hard when you are feeling chaotic to stop and spend time with the Lord, but it is critical. You will not leave the chaos until you do it. You cannot do this life without Him and when you try, you bear no fruit.
This has been so true in my life.
When I came home from Rev Well retreat in April, I was so ready to take action in my life. I was on fire. I was consistent in my time with the Lord. As soon as I got too busy taking the next steps for my life, moving in my new found purpose, my world slowly started falling apart again.
My house got chaotic. My mind got chaotic. I was snapping at everyone. Nothing made me happy. I was feeling like I always needed to be moving ahead yet I was stuck where I was. I was pleading with God to fix things and He was silent.
“Honoring God without having a personal relationship with Him is impossible………we want to do things for God without spending time with God” ~ Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove
Is that why I don’t have peace? Is that why I can’t figure out what direction to take all my new found knowledge? Is that why things are falling apart right before my eyes?
Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked (griped, pleaded for answers) about it?
The absolute worst time of my life was bearable because I was spending time consistently with God.
These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. ~ Matt. 15:8-9
I want all of this new information that I’m learning to be used to help others. I want to write. I want to speak. I want to help others get healthy; body, mind, and soul. I want to set up so many new things that point back to the Lord, but that isn’t possible if I don’t intimately know Him first. Anything that I try to come up with on my own will fall flat.
I know that joy, contentment, and peace comes from spending time with the Lord. Why don’t I make it a priority?
This week in leadership training, my eyes were really opened. The Lord used this fluffy joy week to shake up what’s been missing for so long in my life.
I’m done striving for what I *think my life should look like.
I was recently given some advice to just slow down and chill. I think that was a directive from God.
No matter how much I strive to accomplish things that I think will make me happy, I can do nothing apart from Him.
I will continue to persue my goals, but I will first consult with the only One that can make me successful. I will then be able to clearly hear His voice and follow His direction for my life as that is the only way true joy, contentment, peace, and success can happen.
He has never left me in the most tragic of times and I completely trust that He is going to guide me to great JOY, whatever that may look like, from now on. If only I seek Him first……………………..
What about you? Are you stuck? Does your life feel like constant termoil and stress? Are you lacking joy, contentment, and peace? Sometimes the 1st step into the presence of the Lord is the hardest, but He’s waiting for you and wants nothing more than to take your chaos and restore your joy!
What is stealing your joy? Comment below or feel free to contact me if you’d like more private help!
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