To say that I have had a busy past six months could very well be the understatement of the century. I became engaged, began planning a wedding, attended my final semester of undergrad before graduating (including completing an internship,) got married, and have started to make a home with my husband and search for a job. This week, my husband came home with the news that he had received a promotion he had wanted at work. I have to say that life, specifically this new unfolding chapter, has been good to me, but I haven’t always been able to proclaim that joy. Sometimes I catch myself getting tangled up in the idea that if I am to live a life of humility, then I am not allowed to fully enjoy the good and perfect gifts the Lord gives. For a long time, any expression of happiness in my life was equated with pride. In the past six months, anytime someone asked me how I was doing, my heart skipped a beat and my stomach turned as I searched for an answer that displayed reverence. I said I didn’t want to be too loud about my joy, because I knew what loud people did to me as I waited in the wings for this new chapter to begin. I was envious of them, constantly comparing where I was and what I had to where they were and what they had.
Anxiety robs the heart of so much gladness. Perhaps you are in the same boat, confusing silence for reverence today? Maybe you’re feeling weak and discouraged like I do when I forget the good and perfect.
I realized how severely I missed the mark when the Lord spoke to me as I was cleaning my bathroom this morning: “don’t be afraid to fully enjoy the gifts I give you.” It is not often that I hear Him speak so clearly. Of course, I stopped scrubbing the toilet to listen.
It is the joy of the Lord that gives us strength. Christ came so that we might have the full measure of joy, abundant life. But we must have faith to step into it. Ann says “a life contemplating the blessings of God becomes a life acting the love of Christ."
How often do I chide myself, saying "when will I ever be what He has called me to be?" More often than I care to admit. The Lord longs to be gracious, but I rarely step forward to accept grace. Could this really be the answer?
We love better when we understand how we are loved. We become more like Him.
A life contemplating the blessings of the Lord. To be left in awe and wonder at the mystery of being found and known and loved.
Because Father God delights in His children, and is gracious beyond what we can fathom. He is the lover of our souls, and when we delight ourselves in Him, He blesses us beyond our ability to contain.
That overflowing cup…. yeah.
Not only this, but joy is a propeller. Because when your cup is overflowing, you yearn for others to taste and see. Joy moves us to serve and wash the feet of others who are searching wildly for something to hold on to in the midst of tremendous hurt and difficulty. Joy brings us to love like Christ.
He came so that we could have joy. We must engrave it on our hearts, lest we forget the good and perfect, and once again become afraid and hardened.