Pursuing Your Joy
As I pursued what I considered to be the pinnacle job of my career a number of years ago, the only thing that stood between me and having all I had ever wanted was an interview. And there was that. This job would provide my ticket to a happy life, right?
Well the interviews took place and the outlook was good, but the result was not what I had hoped for. I came in second place. That’s right, I finished as the runner up. Can I just say that coming in second has never been a goal? Defeat sure knows how to rob a girl of her joy.
But God had other plans. BIG plans. And because He’s in charge of my life, I bowed before Him with humility and asked for His grace and mercy as I walked through this season of disappointment. More than anything I prayed for Him to take hold of my dreams and restore my joy. He’s my dream catcher.
How could I be joy-filled when the door had been closed on one of my dreams? How could I be happy about not getting what I wanted and worked toward?
Because it’s our duty to “Rejoice in the Lord always;” regardless of our circumstances.
His Ways are Better
Turns out what I once considered as the be all, end all job experience of my career, actually opened a completely different door to walk through. Instead of pursuing another school job, He called me to ministry. And let me tell you, this ministry thing isn’t an easy gig, but it was God’s calling on my life and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Living out my testimony is both humbling and scary. Whether we like it or not people are always watching to see how we handle disappointments. But God gives us courage to survive the challenges and painful moments and come out on the other side shouting cries of joy. And in the big scheme of things, this disappointment was a small hiccup on the way to something so much better.
Joyful in Spirit
God wants us to be joyful in spirit, even in the midst of worry, stress, pain, anxiety and frustration that we sometimes experience.
Psalm 28:7 NIV tells us, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”
Finding Your Happy Life
One of the poignant stories of joy that I cling to is in the book of Philippians. It’s the Apostle Paul’s joy letter. The Philippian believers had enjoyed a very special relationship with Paul and his letter was an expression of his love and affection for them. Philippians emphasizes the real joy of Christian life and references joy 16 times throughout its four chapters.
In his letter, written from prison, Paul speaks about joy and about the Christian’s duty to rejoice over and over again. How could someone locked up encourage others to rejoice?
Paul dedicated his life to serving Christ, but it didn’t come without severe trials and challenges. Scripture says he faced excruciating poverty, abundant wealth and many other things in between. But regardless of his circumstances, Paul learned to be content, finding joy as he focused all of his efforts in following and depending on Christ.
Paul’s words provide so much comfort. Philippians 4:4-5 NIV says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Prison would be the last place to rejoice, but Paul was reminding us that our inner attitudes must align with our outward circumstances. He was full of joy because of His relationship with Jesus. It’s easy to be discouraged, but God’s Word tells us we are to be joyful in all situations.
You Be the Joy
So today and everyday, choose joy and be the joy for those around you. Be a light for Him as you choose to be obedient and follow Him.
And that friends is the secret to a happy life.
How do you lead a joy-filled life?