Have you ever had a day so frustrating that it caused you to reflect on the last time you had joy?
I mean real joy? And not just happiness (there is a difference).
There is a difference in being elated about a particular event or something circumstantial versus being positive or seeking the positive in every situation.
One affects how you feel and the other is effected by your temperament. By the way, what mood have you been in lately?
Can you recall the last time you had a great or even good day? Has it been so long that the seasons have changed?
Let’s be honest. Life can be challenging; every day. It can be a huge struggle just to get out of bed and get our day started. Some of us deal with so much in the mornings that our day is deemed bad as soon as we walk out the door.
Then, when you consider traffic jams, irritable coworkers, difficult supervisors, disgruntle clients, rude store clerks, unfriendly neighbors, judgmental church members and demanding spouses it can seem pretty impossible to maintain joy.
It happens to the best of us.
Recently, I had a day that caused me to reflect. Ever had one of these days? You know the kind where everyone said the wrong thing, every bad thing imaginable happened and you were forced to just drop everything you were doing or trying to do and just be still and pretend that you were somewhere else in another place and another time?
Well, my recent day wasn’t this bad, but trust me I have had them.
After you open your eyes from pretending and face the hard truth that you are still in the same present moment, you release a cry you can’t explain, but God understands. In this moment, you realize that life has seemingly weighed you down. You aren’t happy or hopeful.
Your joy has been robbed.
Your strength has been depleted.
You feel unaccomplished, unsuccessful and unhappy. It has gotten to a point that you don’t even recognize yourself. Sure, you are keeping it together on the outside and managing to dress up your outer layers. But your attitude, character and personality have taken such a hit of bitterness that foreign thoughts, words and actions have become domestic to your temperament.
How did you get here? More so, how are you going to get out of here?
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV).
The Israelites had experienced many ‘bad’ or difficult days. But one day, a declaration was spoken to them that revived their spirits. On that day, their joy was restored and their strength was renewed.
You can easily point to your past and even current situations and relationships and blame them for not having joy. But the truth of the matter is you have allowed your joy to be robbed by yourself.
Ouch! I know this is a hard truth. But guess what else? You have a choice in every good and bad situation. You have the option to respond positive or negative to every word spoken at or about you. It is up to you to be content in whatever state you find yourself in.
Right now you might be feeling as though you have no strength to get up and continue forward. BUT the joy of the LORD is your strength. How do you get joy? It has already been given to you as a gift (Galatians 5:22). Stir up the gift that has been lying dormant inside of you.
Reactivate your praise. Rejuvenate your prayer. Rejoice in the LORD!
Choose this day to allow yourself to be robbed of joy no more. Declare your Joy and Strength because this day has been consecrated just for you!