We sing that song, “The Joy of the Lord is my Strength” in church and I understand that having the Lord’s joy working in our lives is our strength meaning that if we allow the enemy to steal our joy, he also steals our strength. A few months back, I received an email that a friend of a friend said I have the joy of The Lord in me. I was astonished because I’m like: “Really?!” I have a hard time receiving compliments like this and it’s because I struggle with self-worth. But anyway, I thought long and hard about this all day, then finally decided to research the phrase to see what it means to have the joy of The Lord.
Because I know my weaknesses, how frail I am in certain situations, and how much I need The Lord just to hold my hand most of the time, it’s hard for me to see that joy in The Lord coming through. But maybe that’s where He wants me. He wants me needing His hands to strengthen me through tough times.
The bottom line is I know I enjoy being happy and laughing and smiling. I get no pleasure being angry, mean, depressed, moody, anxious, jealous, sad or confused. God doesn’t get the praise for those emotions either. My prayer is that He will show me what He sees in me so that I can know I’m pleasing Him.
Without joy, life can be intolerable. You have to find something that’s positive or else you’ll be in grieve mode all the time. So many people have lost their joy and when it’s gone, so is their strength and will. You literally can die of a broken heart. But, how do we get that joy and keep it?
One person can and will give us joy and that’s Jesus. It’s in Him that we have joy because He has made a way for us to overcome our sinful nature. It’s through Him that we can have the relationship we were meant to have with God. And, no one else can give us joy either.
When I got married for the second time, I made a fatal mistake and that was, I expected…yes, I said “expected” Ken to make me happy and bring joy into my painful life. And when he couldn’t, I was devastated. I wanted a prince charming to sweep me off my feet and take all my past pains and hurts away. I didn’t want to secretly grieve over Shron’s death, my first husband, while trying to start over with another man. I wanted all my financial struggles to go away, I wanted to live in a nice, safe neighborhood. I wanted out of the ghetto and I wanted out right then!
And when, none of this changed off the bat, I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life. But, then I heard something Joyce Meyer said about her marriage. She confessed that she had done the same thing I did by expecting Dave, her husband, to bring her joy. Hearing this, I didn’t feel so foolish. We have to choose happy even if we don’t have everything we want in our lives. And slowly but surely, things in my life did change for the better. I no longer looked at Ken to be my savior. He loves me, accepts me and wants the best for me, that alone should make me happy.
God has to be the only joy for me to be really happy. When I stopped expecting Ken to be everything to me, I could have real joy. And he wouldn’t be so sad trying to please me all the time and feeling like a failure. I had to work hard to rebuild our relationship, because I didn’t want him to feel he had to measure up to a standard that nobody could. No one can make you get over someone else and they shouldn’t be made to feel that have to replace someone either. It’s not fair to them.
My pain could only be taken away by two things: (a) I had to give it over to Jesus; and (b) Jesus then would heal my heart and comfort my soul. Once I did that, then the joy of The Lord would rest in me and come out of me towards others.
I can’t always see the joy in me like others may but I’m thankful that God keeps working on me. My marriage is so much better, because my joy is in serving Ken and helping him achieve his dreams. He gives me joy in just being my husband and best friend. We have a lot of fun together, because I don’t expect anything from him. The freedom that he can be himself and love me is what we needed.
Joy comes from The Lord. He gives us plenty of things in our lives to help us as we wait on His joyous return. He gives us people to love, pets to add to our families and overall well-being. He gives us picturesque places to live and visit so we can view His beauty everyday.
He gives us food to nourish our bodies and to tantalize our taste buds. He gives us artistic talents to express Himself through us in many forms: photography, crafts, painting, writing, crafting, singing and even dancing. He also gets joy when we worship Him even if we can’t sing, it doesn’t matter to Him. If our heart is truly grateful, we can always make a joyful noise unto Him and He loves it. There’s joy in praying for others and seeing God answer. There’s joy in the little things in life like taking a walk, enjoyment talking to friends or reading encouraging scriptures.
Joy comes when God is first in our lives and He’s not competing for our heart. Joy comes when we look at ourselves and see failure, faults and sin but we look at The Savior and see Joy, Hope, Love, and Grace.