Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Unspeakable Joy

I had a conversation this week with someone very dear to my heart. As they tried to express their current spiritual and emotional coordinates I said, "Let me see if I can explain what you are feeling. Tell me if I am right or wrong. You feel very alone, even though you know there are people in your life that love you very much. You want to serve God and love Jesus with your whole heart but you get discouraged when you are struggling and those around you who are not serving Jesus seem to be sailing through life. You love people but you want to snap on them constantly as they squeeze your final nerve to death. You know in your heart that God has a purpose for your life but at the end of the day you wonder is it all worth it and you dread the thought of waking up tomorrow and doing it all again. You hear people talk about the joy of the Lord and you put on a smile and an "all is well" attitude but inside you are hurting and alone." The response of my dear friend was, "It is like you are actually inside of my brain. That was so spot on it is scary." How could I tune in to these exact feelings? Because I have been there. I have walked this road before on multiple occasions. Once I journeyed down this road after having my thyroid removed. Another time I found myself detouring down this road after having a baby and most recently I spent a month walking this road due to other factors. Have you been there? Can you relate? You want with all your heart to do the right thing, to obey God's word and to walk in His joy but you seem to have lost the understanding of the joy and the directions to finding it. I truly know that depression is a real thing and I have walked that road and taken medication to level serotonins in my brain. Don't be ashamed and don't neglect your mental health if medication is needed; however, at the end of the day medication can only do so much. The real journey to joy is found when we completely die to self, die to our will and die to our pride. My greatest joy is found when I am living each and every moment for the Glory of King Jesus. It is no secret that my life long dream was to marry a pastor, be a stay at home mom and have lots of kids. The Lord granted the desire of my heart but as the boys got older I continued to do laundry, cook, clean and wonder what my spiritual purpose was. Yes, I encouraged my husband. Yes, I trained and taught my boys the truth of scripture, but I knew I wasn't doing all that God had created me to do. He had given me the desires of my heart and I didn't want to change that, but why did I feel so disobedient and joyless. The Lord used my husband to push me back to something I had actually had nightmares about. I can remember waking up crying at the thought of going back into the classroom. How could God possibly call me to do something that made me fear and cry? He loved me. He wouldn't make me do something I hated. Kicking and screaming in my heart, I submitted to my husband's urging and I returned to the classroom. Guess what? I absolutely LOVE it. Why, because I died to self. It was no longer about me and what I wanted to do. It was and is about living each moment and each breath for the Glory of God. My prayer is to make much of His name and little of my own name. I had to let go of the pride that "I deserved to be a stay at home mom." I was home with my boys while they were growing up and I'm still home with them when they are home. The Lord created me for such a time as this to serve Him in a high school classroom. I didn't like high school or high school students when I was one so the irony is pretty remarkable. When we look outside of ourselves and let go of our own desires and wants and truly seek to die to self daily and serve Jesus with our whole heart, then and then alone will we experience true and unmistakable joy. I'm not saying everyone needs to teach in a classroom, but if you are living in the pit of self-pity, the depths of depression, the darkness of loneliness and the misery of a joyless existence remember that "Jesus is enough" is not simply a Christian cliche saying, it is the absolute total truth. Strip away every desire and dream you have and ask Him to redirect your steps and show you how He wants to use you for His Glory. As you serve Him from glory to glory He will fill you with such an unmistakable joy that the only explanation will be Jesus.