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Keeping Your Joy

JOY is the key to a wonderful life! You have a fundamental need for joy in your life. Life without joy is overwhelming, overburdened, and oppressive. Studies have actually shown that the more joy we have in our lives, the more productive we are. I read an article in "US News and World Report" that said that corporations hire "joy consultants" to build up the joy in peoples’ lives so that employees can be more productive. It is true that you have more energy, more creativity, and more productivity when you have joy in your life. In the short book of Philippians — only four chapters long — Paul uses the word “joy” 16 times. The amazing thing is, Paul didn’t write this book when he was on vacation, he was in prison in Rome, waiting to be executed. In the darkest days of his life, he wrote the most positive book in the Bible.

Paul says if you want to enjoy life, there are some things you’ve got to get rid of. The Bible says to forget your regrets, because that's what God does — he chooses to forgive your mistakes once they're confessed and forget them. The starting point of joy is letting go of the past. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” Philippians 3:13 KJV “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6 KJV Even when Paul had literally lost everything, there was one thing that could not be taken away from him — his purpose in life. Paul says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (NIV). If you want to have a joy-filled life, you need to get in line with God’s purpose for your life. When you begin to live the purpose for which you are made, life makes sense, and joy is a lot more easily found. My personal testimony about JOY happened just a few weeks ago. I have always considered myself one of the strongest women in my little corner of the world. I have always helped out family and friends when they’re sick, depressed, sad, weak, the list goes on. Always praying for others, encouraging them, forgiving them, and loving them. Sounds pretty awesome right?! Maybe not so much. I have always bounced right back from any type of life altering experiencing from those that I love and just keep pushing through.

The problem was I didn’t think I was worthy of the same time, love and forgiveness. I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. I have spent the last couple years pouring out my inner most being to anyone I thought needed it, except myself. Don’t get me wrong, I have always made time for church, God, worship, prayer and what I thought was “feeding my soul.” However, I was really just filling myself up to dump it all back out for everyone but ME!

I realized this was happening when I had a true emotional breakdown that lasted almost a month, but felt like a lifetime. My mind went to a very dark place and I had lost my JOY and ended up being depressed and felt lifeless! In the middle of my darkness I met an amazing lady and out of nowhere. We started talking and I told her my story. It seemed so natural to talk to her. I knew God sent her there for me that day! By the time I was done telling her my situation with tears rolling down my face she looked at me and said these words - “You are trying to be GOD” and you need to repent for that. I couldn’t believe my ears, but at that very moment God spoke to me.

Right there in the hospital cafeteria God had spoken and I knew it was true! I had forgotten how to just love and pray for people and ask God to take the burden of their problem. He is the only one that could fix any of those problems, not me! He is the one who died on the cross for ME, YOU, US! I immediately bowed my head in prayer and asked for forgiveness for acting like God.

Guess what happened? God forgave me! And my JOY slowly started to return over the next couple weeks. I had my Holy Ghost glow back before I knew it! I feel strong in my spirit again. I feel good, happy, excited to be alive.

Some of the same issues that put me in that dark place are still there, they didn’t miraculously disappear. BUT GOD stepped in after I gave it all to Him and wrapped his loving arms around me and said he needed me to do what I was put here to do, show others the JOY that living for GOD brings, no matter what is going on in my life!

So now that’s what I am striving to do every day because the ultimate goal is to make it to heaven and bring others with you!

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11 KJV God Bless!

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