Joy And Strength
I made one of those life-changing discoveries a few years ago. Actually, it was a slow realization over a period of a few years.
I finally connected “joy” with “strength.” I was singing with the Lifeword Trio at the time of my first realization. We sang “The joy of the Lord is my strength” from Nehemiah 8:10: “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Seemed like a nice sentiment. We sang it loud. We sang if often. We sang it with big smiles on our faces. It was a fun song . . . a crowd pleaser.
Slowly, the words grew into a meaningful message. I began to realize a connection between being joyful, and having strength. It was true! Joyful people have more stamina, more endurance, more strength!
My family has always struggled with depression, as well as anger. Both of these are joy-robbers and strength-sappers. Watch a sad person! They will sit whenever they have a chance, they need extra sleep and they are always complaining about being tired. That’s because they are sad . . . or angry, and those emotions literally suck the life out of us. It takes so much energy to feel sadness and anger. But joy? Joy PRODUCES energy!
I don’t know about you, but I need the extra energy that joy brings! Now, I pray for it. I look for ways to encourage myself . . . music (the good stuff), gratitude, words . . . I will even make myself smile! Sometimes a forced smile will kick-start a new attitude. Here are a couple of ideas that work for me:
- I start each morning with God. I have to get up a little earlier, but it’s sooooo worth it! First we walk and talk (good exercise, too!) and then I meet Him at my desk with Bible and prayer.
- I keep a gratitude journal every night. I write at least one thank-you to God before I go to bed. It also keeps me focused on gratitude during the day. (“Hey! I could write that in my journal tonight!”)
- I play my piano. And I sing. Sooooo thankful for all those piano lessons & voice lessons! Soooo glad I did my practice!
- I laugh more frequently. In fact, I look for opportunities to laugh! Comedy is everywhere.
Once you start, you will find even more attitude-adjusters. Stay close to God. Talk to Him constantly. Ask Him for joy . . . to show you joy and to give you joy. And then, share the joy . . . cause someone else is feeling mighty tired, too!
(“Joy and Strength” written June 19, 2013)