Hello there lovely people. Today I want to share some reflections on cultivating joy. It’s funny how I’ve learned more about cultivating joy in the hardest times of my life than the happiest times.
Over the last two years I have gone through little periods of time of feeling really really down. These down days have felt a lot more intense than I’ve experienced before. I was working over my capacity, neglecting my health, and a few different life events happened that tested my faith. Lets just say that when I hear people talking about depression and what that experience is like for them, I truly understand now what that feels like now.
On one particular day where I was feeling very blue I felt my Heavenly Father’s smile wash over me and He said “sing to me, daughter!” And He led me to read Psalm 96.
This took me into a season of The Lord teaching me to sing in joy when I was actually feeling the opposite. And wow, what a powerful weapon of warfare that is.
I would like to impart something to you today that I’m learning about joy in this season, but may I suggest to get the most out of this blog first you must absolutely make yourself some tea and find somewhere cosy! Then get some paper and a pen, and maybe just focus on applying one of these things to your life if this is something you want a breakthrough in.
1. Let Your Joy Kickout Despair!
I’m moving to another city at the weekend. As I was pondering the next season I suddenly felt worry about the move.
‘What if I don’t make friends’
‘What if I’m isolated’
‘What if I can’t find a job’
And then I had a picture of me dancing in my new living room in my brightest outfit that I have with a huge smile on my face. I instantly felt hope. The thing is, worry lack and fear can try to lie and intimidate us but we don’t actually have to agree with that. In the face of fear and despair I will dance, smile and let my light shine! The darkness can’t stay when I’m grooving. Even if I don’t ‘feel’ like it, I will rejoice because Jesus is literally with me. There ain’t no lack in Jesus honey. Joy is a fiery weapon of warfare. There are of course times where maybe we don’t have the strength to rejoice, why don’t you make a ‘Joy Playlist’? Put some gospel music on and let the lyrics release something in and around you.
2. Allow Hardship To Grow Your Capacity For Joy.
Choosing joy when we are feeling the pressure that comes through the trials of life definitely requires some cultivating with The Lord. We need to believe that beautiful things come from seasons of refining (Romans 8:28) but during the process is usually where we will find the temptation to give up on our faith, our dreams, and going deeper in love towards God, others and ourselves.
Ohhh honey, there is RESISTANCE in these seasons in our flesh.
We want to self medicate, suppress, forget, escape but God wants to bring more and more freedom and life. Chipping away old mindsets and letting Jesus heal our pain can be extremely uncomfortable, just go to the picture Jesus paints in John 15 where he talks about God burning away the things in us that don’t bear fruit! *ouch*.
It can also feel like you are going 100 steps backward because you are feeling the pain and tension of things within you 🌪 like you are being PUSHED off a cliff edge. You just want to run away from all the FEELS.
Don’t run away though Beloved.
Stand firm in the pressure, be brave and open your heart to transformation, pain and love. God brings our inner turmoils to the light during these times to heal and replace with love and truth. Or sometimes it’s just a really tough season in general, but be strong. He brings good through hardship (Romans 8:28) stand STRONG in His goodness.
So how do we cultivate joy in hardship?
During seasons of suffering and cultivating joy it’s important to CELEBRATE 🥂🎡 because you know that this is just a season, and you trust that God is working for your GOOD. Don’t quit on your faith, your life or your relationships. Choose celebration anyway. Open your heart and anticipate.
Trust the Lord. Don’t suppress. Don’t be afraid. Don’t distract yourself. Stand in it all. Step up. Surrender. Be free. God the Father will catch you. Change you. And give a future to you. Celebrate everything that you can! Because your salvation is a big enough reason to party everyday.
3. Ownership, Hard Grafting + Social Media Lies.
Living in a world where we can get pretty much what we want when we want through our technology. We get instant gratification and temporary happiness but it doesn’t go that far. Temporary happiness is easy, but cultivating joy requires ownership and hard work. Remember social media is proposing a lie to us, don’t get me wrong peeps I love love social media, and I love seeing my loved ones highlights, it’s so great. I think we all know what I’m talking about though. So never let it rob you, use it wisely (work out what that looks like for you) and take breaks. Don’t fall for it’s tricks, perfection isn’t real when it comes to humanity.
Embrace your imperfect self and lets get some grit and prepare to work hard at choosing joy. We need to exercise this and we all know how painful the physical growth can be. Throughout the New Testament there are many scriptures using illustrations of training as athletes in regards to our faith, have a think about why that may be. We need to run towards the goal that is Jesus. This is not about instant happiness my lovelies, this joy is deep deep deep and it needs our focus. There is a bigger purpose here, and we need you in this race.
The Church just isn’t the same without you in this race. Take ownership, your joy is your responsibility. Your life, your relationship, your dreams, your YES is your responsibility. How liberating.
1 Peter 1:6 is a verse I don’t particularly enjoy that much, it talks about rejoicing through the trials because it proves that our faith is LEGIT. Oooof. Now that’s a hard pill to swallow. I’m not saying there’s not times of grief, and working things through authentically with the Lord but there is gold hidden in this scripture.
We need to cultivate joy by celebrating and worshipping our fantastic God whatever the weather, together as a darling church.
Let us know some of the ways you are cultivating joy in this season so we can learn from each other. I’d personally love to hear.