“My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!”James 1:2 TPT
Joy is that inbuilt strength which enables us to have control over our negative emotions and mindset. The devil likes to infiltrate our minds through negative thoughts but when we operate in a spirit of joy, when we delight ourselves in the sheer notion of God’s goodness, when we look for things to be grateful for – we generate that ability to dispel those thoughts and surrender them to Jesus.
“We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.”2 Corinthians 10:5 TPT
Joy is the secret ingredient for our sustenance. It anchors our faith and elicits our sense of endurance.
“The joy of the Lord is your strength”Nehemiah 8:10 NIV
Rejoicing is what enables us to make progress in difficult times (Hankins, 2006) Though it sounds so much easier than done, ‘rejoicing’ might simply be choosing to dance & smile instead of sleep away your worries. It might be stating one thing you are grateful for within the day and meditating on the goodness of God through that one thing. You decide. And let the Holy Spirit assist you in designing what a more practical ‘joy’ might look like to you.
“But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows…”Galatians 5:22-23 TPT
I’m only just realising that joy is one the various ways love is expressed. Choosing joy in moments of despair therefore, is the greatest form of love you can allow yourself to experience. And what’s more, it ‘overflows.’ It’s not just for your benefit. Nothing is when it comes to the Kingdom of God. His intention is for all to experience his love, in its truest form. Spreading joy is one of the quickest ways to achieve that, because our passion, our zest for life and ability to see the beauty in it even when our world crumbles before us – that’s infectious.
God knows that whatever great thing he offers us is not solely for our own benefit. Hence, joy is to be shared.
I watched an episode of One Tree Hill not too long ago. In this episode, one of the main characters, Lucas was deeply concerned for the safety of his friend Peyton. So concerned that he took it upon himself to get authorities involved. Although he went to the station armed with zero proof, he had one key thing. A glint in his eye. That glint in his eye is what convinced the Detective to take him seriously and proceed to adhere to his requests. Now, I know, I know it’s all dramatised and certain scenes exude more dramatic effect than reality. But for me it was a clear example that when you hold steadfast to something, when you are genuine in your belief – you have the ability to convince others. Authenticity wins – every single time.
However, I need to be honest. I am a big advocate for feeling your feelings – all of them, no matter how messy they are. I must admit, I have been seriously grappling with the necessity of this recently. However, I am reminded that feeling your feelings doesn’t mean you have to let them overwhelm you. It is possible to be dealing with something and possess a genuine sense of peace which has the ability to subdue your fears. It is possible to still care and express this care through kindness in words and deed. It is possible to choose to let go, chipping away that pain you feel – layer by layer. It is possible to experience joy.
Joy in our inward being irresistibly calls forth joy in the outer world.
What you choose to focus on, is what you will begin to see show up in your world more and more. This is not to encourage a sense of ignorance but rather a sense of rising above. So for instance, I am deathly afraid of lizards. Whenever I’m back home in Lagos, I become hyperaware that they are there and suddenly I begin to see them..all of them, constantly there. However, when I choose to rise above it, despite knowing they exist, they no longer are in my sphere of consciousness because my focus has been diverted to erasing all fears, and walking with confidence knowing I am protected. When you choose to experience joy in your life, through every season – you quite literally radiate and call forth the same thing you out out. They call it karma right? I just call it this:
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”Luke 6:38 NLT
So, I told God this recently and felt comfortable enough to share it:
It is clear you want me to use this season to be decisive about acting out in joy. Looking for things to be thankful for and appreciating those things whether it be in the form of people, weather, divinely orchestrated circumstances. You want me to feel, yes but to surrender them feels and shine that light on the inside of me. I can sense the devil wants that light to go off – he has no good intentions for me. The devil could easily snatch up ones life but God has already won the battle. It’s choosing to walk and live like a winner, constantly in celebratory spirits with a joyous thankful heart, a cheerful giver ready to serve and help others. That is what joy looks like. To walk in freedom and joy and infect those around me with this same energy. To let them know God is on the throne and we will not be morose due to circumstances that surround us but we will look to you as the author and finisher of your faith to help us!
If I’d add anything it would be to also allow yourself to gain the help you need. Let people in. Let them love you. I struggle with this but slowly and surely I’m allowing myself to be embraced by the various communities I am blessed to have found in the form of friends, family and loved ones.
Allow yourself to heal and let Him show you how to.
So, I heard this song a while back and got so excited because
- Bastille is back! (I mean I’m always late to the partay but I had a whole Bastille phase so seeing them with new music excites me)
- The lyrics really touched me, specifically the part which says: ‘How’d you always know when I’m down?’
They touched me because I felt it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. Reminding me that He knows me. He sees me. He is mindful of me and most importantly He’s there for me and truly never lets me down. I’ve acknowledged lately that what love looks to me is just presence. Being there and showing you care. God has been showing this to me in abundance lately and this song is one of those that forced me to acknowledge this.
We’re so blessed to breathe and be alive in this moment. Just your sheer existence is valued and holds so much purpose. So I encourage us all to be grateful for the little things. The little ways people appreciate you or show they care and generally just the various blessings each of us have in some capacity.
“If we appreciate the smallest blessing that comes to us or that has always been with us, and take nothing for granted, we find that we are living in a constant state of joy.”– The Power of Joy, Thomas N. Hopper –
So without further do, I share with you: ‘Joy’ by Bastille:
Sending Peace & Love (always),