I'm starting this book by Debi Pearl entitled "Created to be His Help Meet". I am only in the second chapter, so I don't know whether or not it's a book I will fully recommend, but she made a point that I found incredibly interesting. She was talking about finding joy and that we will find it more easily the more we give thanks to God. At initial glance, it seems backwards, doesn't it? That we need to give thanks in order to receive joy? Doesn't it seem like we should be receiving joy in order to give thanks? But I think she's right on. The more thanksgiving we offer to God the more joy we will find in our hearts. I don't know about you, but I know that I don't go around every day offering my thanksgiving up to God. And there are so many things that I should be thankful for! I find myself sometimes thinking (more often than I'd like to admit) "Once I get this, I'll be happier" or "Once this happens, then I'll have a peace about where I am in life". But it never proves true. Yesterday, as I mentioned in the previous post, Jake and I went shopping and we each got a new pair of running shoes. While in the store, I was so excited and I felt like I was riding on cloud nine. It was such a great feeling to be able to buy something fun and I got complete satisfaction, almost telling myself that the purchase we just made was exactly what I had needed to feel better about my day. But then, as we sat in the car an hour and a half later, stuck in traffic with Cole covered in milkshake and screaming in the backseat, I was not feeling satisfied. I was not feeling as joyous as I felt when I stepped up to the counter to purchase my new shoes. And I actually thought, "Those shoes mean nothing...why do I put any emphasis on them?"
Joy is not something we can make ourselves.....it is something we receive from God. It is not a temporary fix.....it is lasting and endures throughout pain and suffering. Job 20:5 says, "the joy of the godless lasts but a moment." This is the kind of joy I think I search for on a daily basis. But considering that joy is a fruit of the Spirit, isn't it something I should have on a continual basis through my faith in Jesus Christ? I have to say that I don't think I'm the only one who struggles with this either. I don't see many Christians who have a true joy.....because when I do see someone who has this, they stick out like a bright, rare light. I'm just challenging myself to give thankfulness to God and to learn what it means to be truly joyful. If anyone has learned anything on this themselves, I'd love to hear about it!