Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Finding Joy

I'm well aware that the thought of talking about "joy" may very well steal what little joy you have left. With our personal worlds crumbling down all around us, it's hard to find "joy"; in fact, talking about joy often reveals that we're not experiencing it, and we know we should be because we profess we're trusting in God. But still, as hard as we try . . . there are times when joy just doesn't come. We long for it, yet something is keeping us from it. And quite frankly, our desire is that God would just remove the obstacle so that we could "experience" joy.

But we've got "joy" all wrong. And so does Webster (dictionary). True joy is NOT an emotion. It's a way of life. And until we learn to experience joy through our darkest valleys, God has work to do within us. As He grows our faith, He's teaching us to abandon the world and set our hearts on Him. He alone will be your strength . . . in your weakness. (That's the place where we witness His strength best.) And know this Truth:

God's weakness is stronger 
than the greatest of human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25 (NLT)

It's difficult, at best, to find joy in the midst of unthinkable circumstances. I've gone through many things in life that should have taken every bit of joy that existed in my being. I know you've experienced loss of joy in greater ways than most can ever imagine. I know you felt you'd never find joy again. I know you struggle with joy . . . you're not alone. Know that joy doesn't mean you have to show outward emotion of glee. (We look at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7) True joy is much deeper than that.

Joy in the Lord can be found through pouring out tears, anger, and discontent in prayer. Joy is found through a sincere relationship with the Lord. Joy is grounded in a trusting relationship where you know you can pour out your heart to God in an honest way and find His grace to meet you right where you are. Joy is found in your darkest night and in your weakest moments because true joy is found upon your knees . . . when you know . . . that you know . . . that you know . . . that you can speak directly to your Heavenly Father. Joy is when you know He listens to you and begins to answer your prayers the moment you speak. (Isaiah 65:24) Joy is found when you don't know what to pray, but the Holy Spirit speaks to God on your behalf. Joy comes from knowing that NOTHING can separate you from God. Joy puts your life in motion as you seek Him first in your life . . . listening to Him attentively and being obedient to His every command. Joy comes from a heart that has decided once and for all that Jesus is all in all.

Joy is not a feeling.
Joy IS the Lord.
HE is your strength.

How do you find joy???
You find the Lord.
And just so you know, 
"He is with you always" (Matthew 28:20) . . .
so you don't have to look very far. ; )

And be not grieved and depressed, 
for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.
Nehemiah 8: 10


Michelle said...

This is a beautiful post, Cherie. Thank you so much for sharing your insight, wisdom, and encouragement. I think it's very easy to be confused about what true joy is, and you've said it so well here.

Thank you, and blessings!

Cherie Hill said...

Thank you Michelle! Praying that you will be filled with His joy and overflow with hope!

Peggy said...

Thank you Cherie and blessings, I found so much JOY in your message. This is my WORD for 2011. My season to change my attitude, perspective and focus from the year before and seek more JOY! Just as the other day, God spoke to you through Andrew Murray, the Lord has touched me and spoken to me personally in your precious insights. This truly has encouraged me to find the joy that come in the morning (for me it was getting by the mourning to see the next morning)! Once again I treasure your words as I do your books. Thank you.

By the way, Internet Cafe Devotions has a meme every Weds. and I think this would fit perfectly if you'd like to link up (mine's already up early (sigh) so you can catch the link to link up Weds. for WORD FILLED WEDS.) Just a suggestion.

Love, peace and JOY,

Angela said...

Thank you Lord for giving us joy joy joy! In all things, no matter what we face, what circumstances we are dealing with,,,,,joy in YOU>

Joy is not a feeling.
Joy IS the Lord.
HE is your strength.
amen amen amen

Tammi said...

Dear Cherie!
This is excellent! And may I say that these words, "Joy is not a feeling. Joy IS the Lord. HE is your strength." need to be written on post-it notes and stuck all around my house and car, and even on my forehead! I'll have to write the one on my forehead backwards so when I look in the mirror I will be able to read it and be reminded of the powerful truth you have written. Sweet simplicity! POWERFUL truth from God's Word!
Sending you hugs!! Mmmmmmm

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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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