Joy noun \ˈjȯi\: a feeling of great happiness: a source or cause of great happiness
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls “ – 1 Peter 1: 8-9
Peter speaks volumes in this verse. He talks about faith, joy, and salvation all in one. How powerful is this verse? What I can say is that once I received God, I felt the joy that Peter speaks of. I love God so much and by getting to know him and developing a relationship with him, and by being obedient to his word, I discovered this inexpressible joy. This is what happens when you seek him and you give yourself to him whole-heartedly in addition to putting your faith and your hope in Him. Nothing can steal your joy when you do all things with the joy of God. When you have true joy, you smile even in the mist of bad times. It’s a feeling like no other. But how did I find my joy?
There was a time in my life when I didn’t understand what it meant to have joy. Prior to me giving my life to Christ I always felt a sense of emptiness. I was always sad, and hardly ever satisfied. As the days went by I slipped further and further away from myself. I became lost. I became confused. I became indifferent about all things; letting no feelings out and no feelings in. Where I would pray now, back then, I would get drunk, I would party, I would do all kinds of things to alleviate the emptiness that I felt inside; anything to numb that pain momentarily.
I longed desperately for happiness. I thought that being in a relationship would solve this issue. My thought process was “if I am in a relationship with someone, I will be happy because they will make me happy”. Not realizing that I was putting my happiness in the hands of another human being. Instead, I found nothing but HURT and PAIN and HEARTACHE.
The last relationship I did enter, I thought this person was my SOUL MATE, someone that God sent just for me. I even thanked God for him often because I felt that he would be the solution to my emptiness, to my pain, and to my happiness. Disclaimer: I always believed in God. A grew up in the church when I was a child. During my adult life, I went to church but not all the time, probably once every 6 months. I seldom read the bible. And I didn’t have much of a prayer life. So I entered this relationship with the hope that this was forever and that I’d finally be completely happy. But I wasn’t happy. He did make me happy sometimes but when he didn’t my happiness ceased. When he wasn’t making me happy, I felt like I wasn’t happy with my life. My entire happiness was based off of the status of that relationship as opposed to me just not being happy with the relationship in general. In this relationship, I slipped the furthest from myself and I found myself being completely out of character. I got lost. This was all because I was looking for happiness in all of the wrong places.
Happiness and joy does not come from another human being; I soon discovered this.
“59 I pondered the direction of my life and I turned to follow your laws. 60 I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands. 61 Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions “ – Psalm 119: 59-61 NLT
So like the verse says, I pondered the direction of my life and I decided to make a shift. I realized that I did not like who I was becoming. Who was this girl that
NEEDED someone else to define her happiness? Who was that girl who
looked for happiness at the bottom of a bottle of alcohol? WHO WAS THIS
GIRL????? I didn’t know this person at all. I stopped being able to recognize
I decided then to take some time and to reevaluate my life. I needed to figure out what would make me happy. So I finally turned to GOD and I gave my life to him in order to find salvation. I repented for all of my sins and I asked for forgiveness and I began to seek him daily. This is when I began my Christian walk and my relationship with God. This was a little over year ago when I made a commitment to remain obedient to God and to follow His word and to live for HIM!
THIS IS WHERE I FOUND JOY !!!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” – James 1:2-3
But change does not come overnight. It was hard. The Lord tested my faith tremendously in the beginning of my walk. I had a very terrible scare to my health immediately after I gave my life to Christ. But I stayed faithful to him and I PRAYED. And even during this trying time I stayed prayerful. I stayed obedient. I fasted. And I had unwavering faith that my God would HEAL me, because he IS a healer and we must remember this. God is not only good when things are going great for us: He is ALWAYS good. And despite what the doctors said, I soon found out that I was healthy. PRAISE GOD!
So many things, Good and Bad, have happened to me during my walk with Christ but through the Good and the Bad I still praise him in the same exact way. The bad was only a test of my faith and with each bad day, my faith grew stronger. We have to remember that things will not always be rainbows and butterflies: that is far from realistic. But just because you have a few bad days, your faith in God and your love for God should not change! He tests us to not only to make us stronger but to see if we will still remain faithful and obedient to Him; and we must!
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." – Nehemiah 8:10
The Lord was and is my strength through it all. And I must testify and say that I have not felt a greater joy than what I feel now that I have found JESUS. I have never been happier and more fulfilled. My life has purpose. My mind has peace. My heart feels happiness. He completes me. It is truly an indescribable joy! I truly feel like this was all that I needed all along. Everything that I was searching for, I found it all in Christ Jesus. Of course there a bad days and I am definitely not where I want to be in life or in my Christian walk but I have come so far and I will never go back. Not knowing what I know now. Not feeling what I feel now. I broke the chains that bounded me to emptiness. I chose God, I chose happiness, I chose mental freedom, I chose JOY and so should you!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” – Romans 15:13
With God by my side I have accomplished so much this year. I got accepted into Graduate School at Seton Hall, I got a new car, I got a new place, I am traveling out of the country for the first time, I got much closer in my faith, my family is still alive and well, I found myself, I found happiness, I found love, I found joy, I found peace of mind, I found forgiveness and I found the me that I was destined to be all along. I am truly blessed!
In 2014 I look forward to continuing to excel in Grad School, to grow closer and stronger in my relationship with God, to continue to grow and mature as a woman, and whatever else the Lord will bring into my life.
And I will end with this …
As Christians we strive to be more like Christ. As apart of this desire to be more like him, we should carry the essence of Jesus, which is joy. When we carry this essence around, just like negative energy can rub off on us, as well as positive energy, the same holds true for joy. We should spread joy wherever we go: affecting others positively. I encourage you all to seek God if you haven’t already and if you are to continue to seek him. I promise you there is nothing greater than this feeling. Our father that is in heaven loves us dearly and he has proven his love so why not prove our love for him in return and spread his joy: the joy which will encourage others to also seek him. Let’s light up the world with JOYYYYYYYYYY <3
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