Monday, June 30, 2008

Posted by Erin Posted on 11:17 PM | 3 comments

Becoming Joyful

Joyful and happy are so very different. Why can't we get that? We say it all the time..."Happy is based on circumstance. Joy is based on knowing and believing Christ."

We say that, and then in the very same breath we tell the person who is crying to suck it up because they should be joyful. I think our, or at least my, understanding of joy needs to be broadened.

I had a very sweet friend tell me once that I was always sad. She challenged me to be more joyful. I certainly think there is weight in what she share with me, which went a little deeper than just that. But at the same time, she was someone I felt like I didn't have to be fake with. If I was not having a good day then I told her that. In the same year, I had other friends tell me how contagious my joy was. So, what I am to do with that? One friend says," You are always joyful and you trust the Lord. It's such an encouragement." And another friend says, "You are always so sad. You need to take joy in the Lord and trust Him."

Do you know how confusing that can be? Very. But I think I sort of understand...a very tiny bit.

See, in this season I have been both discouraged and encouraged. My circumstances are some of the most discouraging I have ever faced. But I have been more encouraged by the Lord in these times as well. There are days, weeks, even months when I feel...emotionally...defeated, sad, forgotten. But spiritually, I feel satisfied, joyful, victorious. Most of the time the defeated probably shows though more than the victorious. I think that is because it is my flesh that is feeling defeated and it is my flesh that fights against everything spiritual. I know that needs to change. My spirit...rather, the Holy Spirit should be controlling my countenance. My eyes should shine with hope and joy even as I cry. I think more and more that is happening. I believe that we have seasons like this so that those things can happen. But it takes time. It takes change. And God doesn't always make those changes in us over night.

So next time you see someone who seems to lack joy, maybe ask them first. It could be that they do have joy and are just having a hard time expressing it through the hurt.

I don't think that is what my friend was doing. I appreciate that conversation because I know she wants me to look more like Christ which means she really loves me. And I certainly have grown because of her words.


I think it's silly to act like trials aren't painful. They are. And we are promised to have them. I don't think Paul went around talking about how great his life was. He probably told people when that thorn in his flesh was acting up and hurting. He probably had days in prison when all he could do was weep. But that doesn't mean that Paul wasn't joyful.

Down below, I typed out 1 Peter 1:6-9. I love this passage. I love that it says "if necessary". Our trials, our hard seasons, our tears....they have a purpose. If they don't have a purpose, they don't happen. It's ok to admit that those trials are hard and painful. But even in that pain we rejoice because in God's mercy He has saved us and given us a living hope.

1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in the praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


BrunetteKoala said...

Wow. This is a really encouraging post. Thank you for being so open and honest.

Marcus and Meg Asby said...

I know what you mean about joyful v. happy. I had someone tell me this weekend that I needed to be like David. He cried and prayed and prayed and prayed, but once his baby was gone, he stopped mourning and got up and went about his business.

It was okay to hear at this point, because, well, I am going about my business. I am experiencing full days without tears.

But I don't think that it is wrong or sinful to cry about things that are sad or confusing or heartbreaking. We really can rejoice through suffering, but that doesn't have to mean smiling and clicking our heels. Jesus wept. Jesus sweat blood. I think it's okay.

I'll be praying for a job and peace and encouragement . . . man, the glory He will receive as He provides!

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