joy, joy, joy
This past weekend, my pastor spoke on the topic of Joy. It was the second of a two part series. Unfortunately, I missed the first part because I was in Oklahoma watching little Sawyer Baker being born. (That was quite a joy itself). However, this night impacted me like crazy.
The topic focused on on joy- despite the circumstances, using the life of Paul (particularly Philippians) as an example. Our pastor talked about the importance of being joyful in many circumstances, being joyful because of good but also in spite of the bad. He reminded us that joyfulness doesn't always equal a smile on your face, happy-go-lucky attitude, but it means a desire to trust God and be joyful no matter what trials come your way.
Throughout the service I felt God was poking me. For some reason though, I wasn't poking back. It's funny looking back on it because normally I take notes during our services, but I actually put my paper away this time and refused to take notes. It was as if I knew that God wanted to show me something but thought I knew better anyway. As if.
It wasn't until the first song began with our closing service when I heard him whisper to me. He revealed to me the brokenness of my heart, the sadness and bitterness I have been harboring since and before my Nana's death, and the resentment that has entangled me in so many ways. I closed my eyes and saw my Nana's dear face. I thought of her and I thought of joy and I thought of all the things God has been challenging me in lately. I felt overwhelmed and began to cry. I knew what God was asking me. He was asking me to take on, once again, a joyful attitude, despite the hard, despite the scary, despite the Mizzou bills, the Nana aches, the relational frustrations. Despite the unanswered calls, missed opportunities, lost time, and mistakes he was asking me to choose to be joyful in all circumstances.
And I heard him whisper, "Because, Aimee, you are good at that."
It's odd these days to think of me as being gifted with a heart of joy.
Back in the day, when I think of little Aimee, long wavy hair, flowers in her face and a huge smile on her heart I would say yes it was most definitely natural for me to be joyful. But lately, I would have disagreed before Saturday night. I would have told you that I was an non-joyful person. In fact, I would have probably told you that I was one of the most grumpy pants person around.
But I realized Saturday night that the thought that I was destined to be "grumpy pants" forever was untrue. It was a little lie that at some point along the line between the stresses of life and trials, between class schedules, striving for perfection, and desiring for value in the wrong places, I fell prey to that lie that Satan wanted me to believe. Somewhere along the line I decided that lie was truth.
Now I know. I know that the little girl with a smile on her heart was destined to be a beautiful woman beaming with his joy and unconditional love.
Does that mean I will always feel happy? Probably not.
But it does mean that I can choose to be joyful, despite the circumstances? Most definitely yes.
at 1:44 PM