Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g, longing for a bit of hope and joy seemed unattainable? Numerous times throughout my life, situations have tried to rob me of peace. In some circumstances, adversity succeeded. Whether it’s chronic illness, financial difficulties, a sour relationship, the loss of a loved one, let’s be honest, sometimes it seems like such a challenge to keep your head above water.
What if I told you there is a constant spring of joy within your life? Would you believe me? Did you know that you’re constantly pursued by the living and loving God, even when He seems silent? Jeremiah 29:13 states “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” A relationship is so much more than just seeing, it’s experiencing. In my relationship with the Lord, I want to see and to experience His love, always. This is where true joy resides, you know the kind that keeps your head above water, when really, you think you just might sink.
Below are five scriptures that have helped me refocus on glimpses of grace allowing my heart to be open and receive His joy. Once our hearts are in the right place, we’re going to explore, capture, and create out of awe and reverence of His Majesty.
The first step is determining how the joy robbers will affect you.
“In all things, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, towards you. ”
1 Thessalonians 5:1
To be joyful is to be thankful. I know, how can one be thankful for sadness or ashes?
The scripture states to be thankful in, not necessarily thankful for. To be thankful in is to seek the Lord in the situation and rest in His love and truth. It’s committing your focus on Jesus, not the mountain.
Next, we must protect our heart from hardness, hurt, despair.
Guard Your Heart
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Psalm 4:23
This is achieved by allowing the Word of God to penetrate your heart, your soul, your mind. It’s allowing His love and companionship to be your compass.
Renew Your Mind
Obviously, we need to address a very powerful and determined resource the Lord has given us, in the flesh. That is, of course, our mind. If we allow our thoughts to focus on the negative, we miss the opportunities for love, for beauty, for joy. I read the following passage someplace a couple of years ago, and it really moved me. “Imagine getting to heaven and your in a large area full of shelving. On that shelving are baskets with everyone’s name on them. When the angel pulls off your basket and you look inside, will it be full of everything the Lord had for you, or will the space be somewhat void because you chose to focus on the wrong things?”
“…to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.…” Ephesians 4:23-24
Praise As Strength
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
Just as we try and focus on what to be thankful for, we also must praise Him. Did you know that the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, Our Mighty Counselor, Our Savior, inhabits our praise? It’s true. Think about how life-changing this truth is. Connecting our thanksgiving with praise automatically sparks the joy of the Lord in our life.
For example, Lord, thank you for your guidance during this hardship. I praise you for always loving me and offering hope.
Now, if you’re anything like me, at this point, you’ll want to act, to do something with this flickering flame. I believe with all of me that the graces and the glimpses of beauty He offers are an invitation. Take a moment and think about what He reveals to you as beautiful? Do these thoughts bring you some amount of joy, of admiration?
Meditate on His Wonderful Works
“They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty– and I will meditate on your wonderful works.” Psalm 145:5
Each day think about the beauty that surrounds you. Whether it’s things in the physical world such as nature, family and friends, or wonderful relationships that foster love and growth; whatever the glimpses may be, let them change you by capturing and claiming them. In doing so we create an amazing keepsake.
God created man in His image. He, who is the ultimate Creator designed you to notice, to make. Honor Jesus by writing it all down, painting, take pictures, sketching, cook a meal for a friend..etc. What’s important is that you notice and then create out of reverence for the Lord. Eventually, you’ll take some of these works and share them with others, blessing them. That is the best kind of joy and the one we are called towards – to love and bless others how He loves and blesses us. Amazing how He uses everything for His Glory, for those who love Him.
But to get started let’s start with a simple photography challenge. Almost everyone has a camera or a camera on their phone. Capture the beauty you see, collect joy. Even if you never share it with the world, it’s for you. Trust me; it’s quite fulfilling to snap a moment of grace in your midst and reflect upon it later. No matter your photography skill, just point, shoot, collect.
Eventually, joy will encourage you to share some of your findings with others. Please look me up on Facebook – She Breathes Hope Cafe. I would LOVE to see your photos and collaborate in other photo challenges. You can also find me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. I so look forward to connecting with you and seeing what beauty fills your life.
If you’re not sure how and where to begin this quest, I have a special gift just for you. Below, you can download your free printable ebook/workbook taking you through True Beauty – The Art of Noticing. It correlates with the first chapter of my new book Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst. It’s a great starting point with encouraging scripture, journal pages, and thought provoking suggestions. Enjoy.
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It’s my genuine hope that the ideas and words contained in this post help you grow in the Love of Jesus. That you may see or have new insight on His unwavering love and the continual invitation for you to experience grace and joy.
A Little About the Author
Melanie Fagan is a wife to Mike and mother of two amazing daughters, Hailey and Autumn. Recently, they rescued two adorable, fun-loving cats, King Tut and Moose, who add much joy to the mix.
She seeks to live at the intersection of Jesus and all things beautiful through the trials of life and chronic illness. She believes that through faith and creativity there is a well of hope, of peace, even healing. Join her as she takes His hand, dreams boldly while living out her life verse of Romans 8:28; “all things work together for good for those who love God.”