Monday, July 27, 2009

Finding Joy

Author: Katie

Every year God gives me an area of my life to focus that needs growth. This year He gave me joy. No, He did not make me happy (which is what I thought would happen when I understood where He was planning to work in my life). I expected that finally, everything in my life was going to come together and all the things I have been praying for would all fall into place and finally I would have happiness.

I should have known better. Happiness is temporary. Joy is forever. If I have learned anything over the last several years, I have learned that His ways and thoughts are most certainly not like mine. So, after I returned from the retreat in which I discovered the theme of my life this year, I suffered many many attacks on my faith which resulted in great loss in many ways. However, I am learning in the loss that there is so much more to gain.

I am learning that I trust in circumstances and relationships too much...earthly things that I am learning more and more every day are very temporal. Even the strongest relationships can change in a moment's notice and be lost forever. Circumstances rise and fall with every change of wind and my emotions rise and fall with them.

God is teaching me that true joy does not depend on circumstances or earthly relationships...or any eartly thing for that matter. Joy is found hidden deep beneath the circumstances and in only one relationship. I will have joy when I find that place deep within and let my relationship with Christ be at the core of my being and the complete source of my joy...not people...not circumstances.

I am also learning that it doesn't happen overnight. I still have ups and downs but the hills and valleys of this roller coaster ride are becoming smaller and smoother...yet I know the ride isn't over yet. I still fear loss and I still have a broken heart and I still focus too much on relationships that really shouldn't matter at the expense of those that should matter more. I try to hold on to what I should let go of...what doesn't belong to me nor ever did to begin with. I want Philippians 3: 8-10 to be my testimony.

I want to live to consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I want to consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death....

This is the path to joy...the path through begins with dying to my selfishness. The more I strive to reach this place...the more I see how selfish I really am. God, help me to die in a way that brings You glory and resurrect me to find eternal and consistent joy in You and You alone. I know this road will carry me through suffering and as much as it already hurts...I know that I will find strength in Christ and joy in praise. And so I praise you for this storm that will lead me on the path to pure joy that is only found in You. Mold me...strengthen me...make me holy that I can be a purer image of You. To You be the glory for the work that You never cease doing until it has been completed. For You work all things for good as you mold those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.. into Your perfect image! I am called. I am being purified. I am growing. I am being emptied. It hurts...a lot...but I shall continue to reach for the goal which is in Christ. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

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