These past two months have been killer for me. I couldn’t figure it out until one day it just smacked me in the face: somehow I lost my joy. Being in the Word, listening to worship music all day long, reading and writing about His goodness. Even all of that didn’t snap me out of it.
I have this tendency to allow burdens to pile up unnecessarily. My kids are driving me crazy, my husband has been working a lot, I have deadlines and due dates and to-do lists a mile long. I let that stuff swirl in my head non-stop. I think about it, mull over it, rehearse it, problem-solve it , and even make up scenarios in my mind. As if I need one more thing to think about? My brain is constantly full, taking up all the room I usually like to save for rational or creative or happy thoughts. It’s just a jumbled mess in there sometimes.
I”m a melancholy girl, and I can get pretty down when I allow myself to. I can feel down about my own life just as easily as I can about the state of the world, the injustices and the evil, or the disparities between those who have and those who have not. If I’m not careful, the enemy can create a burden from my compassionate heart just as easily as he can from my fear or stress or lack of trust in the Lord. He’s tricky alright.
So there are seasons where I go about life and I just feel heavy. I spiral into this pattern where everyone gets the worst of me and my brain always feels like it’s about to explode while my heart feels almost numb. I can’t always put my finger on exactly why, but I can see the effects of it in my husband and my children and myself. This isn’t a healthy habit and I know it.
Is anybody tracking with me here? I really do have a point, I promise. And it’s this:
I believe that gratefulness is the key to unlocking true joy. Peace and contentment follow right behind.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:6-8 [NIV]
Our thoughts are powerful. Paul wouldn’t have admonished us to think about particular things unless they were.
Once I choose to think about those things that I’m grateful for, the joy peeks through like a little ray of sunshine through a storm cloud. And it isn’t until I choose it again the next day that a little more joy can shine into my soul. It is a daily decision to throw off burdens and put on gratitude. It hasn’t changed any of my circumstances. My one year old still cries almost all day long, my husband still works a lot and we have to fight for time together, I’m still unbelievably busy, and we still have lots of things out of our control that are piling up and looming in the background. But God is faithful, I know that. And He has given so much, I choose to see that.
The lightness always feels better. Counting blessings always works so much better than counting burdens. It’s entirely up to us, we just have to choose to see it.
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