-I wasn’t raised in the church.-
When I began going to church (many years ago), everything seemed foreign to me. Even the Christian lingo didn’t roll off my tongue easily. As a result, I felt like I was the only one in the building that didn’t know what was going on.
I watched and listened to people around me proclaiming their joy and wondered why I didn’t have joy. I knew I was missing something, and I longed so deeply to have what they had. Instead, I viewed the world through what I called a “realist” attitude. You know, we can dress it up and call it whatever we want, but the fact was that I was negative and critical, and I didn’t even know it.
No wonder I didn’t have joy.
-Beginning The Journey-
I first began by asking others how they found their joy. Then, I expressed my desire and received many suggestions. But unfortunately, the answers were so varied that they didn’t really give me any direction, and I desperately needed a direction and a path.
Since I didn’t know where to start, I began praying to the Father and looking at verses in the Bible about joy.
Here are a few scriptures that stood out to me.
Psalm 27:6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Psalm 47:1-3 O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy. For the Lord Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth. He subdues peoples under us And nations under our feet. He chooses our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom He loves. God has ascended with a shout, The Lord, with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises; Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
Psalm 71:23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; And my soul, which You have redeemed.
-It Starts With The Little Things-
Now that I had some scripture to point me in the right direction, I began praising the Father for the things that He had done. I wasn’t sure how to go about it, so I started reciting scriptures such as Psalm 75:1.
We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works. Psalm 75:1
As I read verses like these, I noticed something unique, each of these scriptures about joy also contained the idea of praising the Father.
When we praise the Father, we give thanks for who the Father is and what He has done.
At first, it felt awkward and forced, but I continued to recite the scriptures and pray that the Father showed me how to find my joy.
-Something Began To Happen-
After a while, I felt something. Something hard to explain, but it was like a softening of my heart. My praise became something altogether different than what it once was; it became my own words praising the things that the Father was doing in MY life.
My whole world was changing because my perspective was changing. Finally, I was able to see the little things that I was so very grateful for, and slowly, I began to find joy. My joy came in the guise of a light heart, a soft laugh, forgiveness, repentance, and gratefulness.
I believe that this is the key to finding our joy. When we have a grateful heart, we become less us-centered and more Father-centered. As we thank Him for all of the big and small things He is doing in our lives, we become aware of just how involved He is- every minute of every day.
As we develop a grateful heart, we grow our relationship with the Father. Seeing all of the blessings He has for us and how much He cherishes us will help us stay connected and deepen our relationship with Him.
Even after all these years, I still write down 3 things I’m grateful for every morning. I keep it where I can see it often during the day, and it helps me focus on what the Father is doing in my life. I can’t imagine what my life would look like without His guiding hand every step of the way.
So, what are you grateful for today?
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