Monday, February 3, 2014

I Confess

Well, I blew it.

As you may know, the topic of joy runs through my veins.  I’ve studied it thoroughly. I teach it, I write about it, and I speak about it to any audience that will listen. It’s become my passion. I know that joy is fruit of the Spirit, evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit living within me. I know that the Holy Spirit dwells in me and has resided in me since the instant of my salvation.  I know that joy, as a fruit of the Spirit, is mine to keep. Nothing can steal the joy of a child of God. It’s not physically possible. But we can allow the junk of our world to mask or bury our joy.  Guilty.

Last week was a rough one. I confess that I allowed people with whom I have severely strained relationships to bury my joy.  

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."   James 5:16 NASB 

Over the weekend I came face-to-face with a few people who have become strangers to me.  They’ve hurt me in the past. Deeply. They’ve inflicted the kind of pain that doesn’t heal with an apology because trust is broken.  Forgiveness is accomplished in this situation, purchased at the cross of Christ. I have forgiven those involved and I am willing to forgive them repeatedly, each time their offenses come to mind. I actively pray through those times and immediately lay them - and the hurts they caused - at the foot of the cross.  But until trust is reestablished, I cannot move forward as if nothing happened. I’m unable to put on a happy face and walk in false peace.  There’s a lot of healing still to come, but yesterday I agreed (with God and at the request of my family) to make myself vulnerable and put myself into a situation where I feel unsafe. I joined them for a gathering.

You know how it goes.  When we face an uncomfortable situation, just the anticipation of that situation nearly tears us apart.  Throughout the past week, every hurt, every unkind word, every past rejection came rushing into my mind as if it had just occurred. The wounds, which had once scabbed over, were picked until they once again bled. Some of these wounds are over 30 years old.  That’s a long time to wait for a wound to heal and become a scar of remembrance. Some of the wounds, however, are just a few weeks old and serve as bloodstained fingernails that continue to pick at the wounds. It’s hard to heal during the infliction of additional injuries. 

I confess that I allowed the past to take over my emotions. I allowed thoughts of what might happen to consume my focus. I didn’t carve out time for lengthy periods of seeking God’s face. I didn’t fast. I didn’t do any of the steps I’ve learned to take when Ifeel emotions start to take control. I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t. And before I knew it, I couldn’t find my joy.

I was so grateful this morning, after the weekend events were over and my head began to clear, to climb into my frozen car at 6 am. I turned on my worship playlist, and received the loving embrace of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is still my Redeemer, even when I blow it. He continues to love me as a child of God, even when I feel like an epic failure. This morning, He reminded me through the Spirit that joy is still mine. He wiped away all of the mud and filth that had buried my joy and reminded me that His joy is mine to keep. Forever. 

It’s not always easy to find joy - not when our eyes see trials in the present, our minds see the pain of our past, and our imaginations see concerns for the future. Joy is not always easy to find, even when we know it’s a close as our next breath. Obviously, for me it can still be a struggle to find my joy, but it is getting easier. I’m learning to recognize threats of its burial, and rebounding faster.

I pray that finding joy is getting easier for you, too, my sisters, because, it’s yours. Joy is a gift from the Father, and one that’s yours to keep.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice!" Philippians 4:4 (NASB)

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.”  Galatians 5:22-23a (NASB)

Your turn:

When have you allowed circumstances to mask your joy? 

How did you find your joy again?

Be strengthened today, by the Word,


Psalm 119:28

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