They sound great, they sound incredible, they sound soooooo easy...
During the year of 'faithful', I was met with so many challenges, obstacles and trials put on my path to test my faithfulness and to show me where my heart really was. It was awesome to grow through!
During the year of gratitude, which should probably be the easiest of them all, because each and every day we have so many incredible blessings that we should be grateful for, I was again shown my own heart and how little I was actually grateful for. Yes, I know... that sounds so bad! But again, it was amazing to see where I actually was and how I so often took things for granted!
This year, the year of 'Joy', has been no different. My heart was and is exposed! It's been a year of really letting go of the things that I THINK are going to bring me joy and really learning where my TRUE joy comes from. I have learned that circumstances will happen and life is going to throw me curve balls and obstacles are going to be placed in front of me to challenge my joy factor. So where does my joy actually come from?
I can let life determine it, I can let circumstances determine it, or I can let my relationship with God determine it.
During the first few months of this year, with just an incredible amount of joy-stealers coming at me, I read a book by Joyce Meyer entitled "Seven Things That Steal Your Joy". There is so much underlined and highlighted in that book it's not funny!! But I was determined that this year, my lessons were going to be learned during the first half of the year and not the latter half! I was determined to have a JOYFUL year! And that meant me learning, growing and letting go sooner rather than later!
It was truly amazing to me the things I let steal my joy. And it wasn't anything that anyone else was doing... it was what I was doing! It was the things I was hanging on to - like unforgiveness, comparison, legalism, complicating things... even fear! I was astounded at my own issues!
Nehemiah 8:10 says: Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Jeremiah 15:16 says: Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
Indeed one of the fruits of the Spirit is JOY! (Galatians 5:22). Therefore JOY is actually a spiritual weapon!
Matthew 6:33 says: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. So that's what I try to do. And the more I do it, the more I have joy. The more I seek God's face, the less complicated my life is, the less fear I have, the less I get stuck in legalism and the more I actually have of ALL the fruits of the Spirit - not just joy!!!
I encourage you to put God at the centre and let Him have free reign in your life!! It is time to stop the joy-stealer from stealing your joy!! You deserve love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. You are worth it!!!