Hello. My name is Rusty McRustpants because I haven’t written in months.
Today, I want to keep it simple. I want to keep this as real as real can get. I’ve been going through a spot. A little spot, but a spot. One of those seasons, albeit necessary for growth but painful all the same. You know the seasons, when you don’t pray, and you practically run away from God. Because it’s hard sometimes, okay? And that’s a crap excuse, but it’s the truth all the same. It is hard to pray sometimes because the flesh is in opposition to the spirit. I yearn for God in my spirit every day, but my flesh won’t move because it is lazy. Yup, I’m lazy. God knows that very well. He knows it about all of us.
Matthew 26:40-41 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Now, it’s difficult to write about your faith but simultaneously sit on your bum and sulk about all of the things that are going awry in your life. So I didn’t, plain and simple. I can’t, scratch that, won’t write to you about my faith without joy and fire. I can’t imagine Jesus being too impressed with empty, mechanical praise. Also, I don’t want you to read a single word by me that isn’t heartfelt. Just like I don’t want to give lukewarm praise to my Creator. I know that I love Jesus with my entire heart and he is worth more than that. And yet, I’m still lazy.
Speaking of not wanting to write without joy, that word – joy – has been on my heart the last couple of days. When God puts a word on my heart, I pour over it night and day. It is special to me because I write my prayers (y’all know I love me some prayer journaling). Words are an important part of our relationship with Jesus. After all, the word is God; he speaks to us through his word. Therefore, every word he puts on my heart I treat as important business.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Let’s back up for a minute though because I am getting ahead of myself. I know I am not the only one, so I am going to put it out there, but I sometimes feel like a leaf being blown about in a windstorm. Okay, a lot of the time. I’m bobbing through life like a rubber duck in the waves of the sea, similar to the disciples being tossed about in the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 14 (22-33).
The picture I am trying to paint is one where your life feels like it is in utter chaos; you’re the rubber duck that’s bobbing up and down and around and around, taken wherever the storm pleases. Maybe you’ve lost purpose, or you can’t make headway on a project, or you dislike your job. Maybe it is low self esteem or you’re chasing happiness but coming up short time and again. Whatever it is for you, you’re simply not happy.
Ah, the joyful but.
Let me ask you a question. Is there a difference between happiness and joy? Genuinely, I’d love to know your thoughts on this. I must be late to the game if you already knew. It’s occurred to me however that the joy in my heart never ceases. I often don’t focus on joy, though, and so it plays a smaller role than I would like for it to in my day to day life. It is always there through, rain or shine, happiness or sorrow. And that is how I know that joy, true Spirit filled joy, differs from happiness.
The joy in my heart is always there when I am praying in the Spirit. Even when I’m crying tears of sorrow, I’m joyful. It doesn’t mean that I am happy while I am sorrowful. We aren’t called to be happy through our suffering. The happiness we continually seek in this life (in whatever form that may be for you) was always going to be fleeting. Why? Because happiness is just a shadow of true joy. Happiness is based on mood or circumstances, while joy’s foundation is built upon hope. And hope is built upon Christ. And where there is hope for his healing, unconditional, reckless love, there is joy. Joy in the morning, the evening, on good days and bad. It isn’t always loud, or obvious, but I know joy when I breathe in deeply at the thought of him; the thought that I will fail, but it isn’t in vain, because he will never fail me.
Romans 5:1-5: 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
So, will you choose to focus on happiness or joy? I want to leave you with this as food for thought: true joy isn’t about choosing to be grateful or happy; though we should always seek to have a grateful heart. There’s so much to be grateful for in life. But choosing joy is choosing faith. Can you do more to respond with joy in your life? I know I certainly can!
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurances of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
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