This Has to be a Dream
It was Sunday in between services. I work in the back with the kids so I’m there for both services most Sundays. That is my place and I love it! First service had not been over long when the text came, “Granny just passed.” You know those scenes in movies where the main character gets bad news and the camera spins? Their world seems to swirl and all they can do is look at the message they are holding? That was me. I stood there holding my phone in disbelief as the world spun around me. They had taken her off the ventilator Friday and this was Sunday. She fought all weekend. There was hope she was getting better and then this. This was a dream, right? I was in some kind of nightmare, I had to be, she couldn’t be gone.
She went into the hospital in September and everything went downhill from then. She fought hard, though. She really tried. Much like my other grandmother, Nana. She fought cancer hard, but in the end, their bodies were just too tired. They both entered heaven peacefully, but it left us all here to miss them and grieve. Nana went to be with Jesus in August 2009 and Granny December 2016. If ever there was a year for Christmas to stink, this year could be it, but I don’t want that. I love Christmas, she loved Christmas, but how do I find joy, real joy and not the paste on kind, while still reeling from the pain of losing her?
How do we fix our eyes on Jesus and on letting His joy comfort us when life hurts so much at times? What about when the hardships threaten to suck the joy out of Christmas? What do we do?
When Will Joy Come Back?
Have you seen the movie “Inside Out?” I love it. It may seem strange to talk about a kids movie, but it is a deep movie. It deals with the emotions of a young girl who has moved and everything is changing and all of her emotions are going crazy. There are 5 emotions this movie focuses on anger, disgust, fear, sadness, and joy. As the movie progresses Joy and Sadness end up on a crazy adventure through Riley’s mind and when all seems lost Joy finally realizes something, in order for Riley to get better she needs to feel. She can’t keep pretending to be happy or put on a brave face. She has to allow Sadness to come and tears to be shed.
Joy is not in place to deny us the ability to feel pain, it is there to help us get through it. Joy is not circumstantial, it is Christ-based. Happiness may come and go. We are humans with many emotions so we will feel waves of all of them, but joy is not just an emotion, it is a state of being. As one of my kids described it last week in kids church, “Joy is happier than happy.” Well, I like that, because if we see it as being stronger than happiness then I guess it is happier than happy because it holds strength.
Losing my Granny was horrific. My eyes are still swollen from this week of saying goodbye. I could walk away from this saying, “When will joy come back?” But, because joy is not based on what happens in life I don’t ask for God to restore my joy, I ask Him to let my joy be my strength. I couldn’t do this without inner joy, inner peace, inner hope.
If we have to ask joy to come back then I wonder if what we were experiencing wasn’t happy because joy is deeper than circumstances.
The thing that can be wondered now is where does the joy stem from? How do we grow in joy? How do we get from happy to joy?
Maybe This Helps
I don’t want to throw out some generic, overused ideas. I don’t want to say, “Get in your word and that is where happiness grows into joy.” I don’t want to do that but…..joy does come from knowing God more. We can’t find strength in joy if we don’t know the source of it. All good things flow from Him so if we aren’t seeking to be intimate with Him then how can we fully walk in any of those good things?
I’ll be honest, I have questioned how people can live opposite of everything mentioned in God’s word and then turn around and ask God for good things or help. WHAT?! So you don’t have faith enough to walk with Him but you do have faith that He can bless you?
I don’t get it.
The hard truth is, those that walk in the secret place are those that walk in His blessings.
When you know the King behind closed doors you have access to the deeper things.
There is not a quick and easy formula for joy. There is not secret remedy or great book (even though I do recommend “The Happiness Dare“ as a good encouragement, pictured below) that can give you the answer. The only book that holds the key is the Bible. Maybe not what we want to hear, but what we need.
If it wasn’t for my relationship with God and Granny’s relationship with God, this week would have been hell (defined as any place that is absent from God). It wasn’t because of Him. And whatever you may be walking through God wants to be with you through it. The hardships of the Holiday’s are not fun to walk through, but we don’t have to do them alone.
Fixing Our Eyes
We aren’t in this alone. It is hard and it will hurt, but we have a good Father that will walk with us. Let’s be intentional about fixing our eyes on Him instead of our hardships. Pray for guidance, for peace, for strength, yes for joy.
I am not saying it will be easy. It will take intentional, purposeful steps but we can get through this. One thing Jennifer talks about in her book is writing down 3 things a day that brought us joy. Then stop and take just 5 minutes to reflect on those things. Even 5 minutes a day can impact our whole thought process. We can do that.
Also, grab the Word and look up Nehemiah 8:10. Write it out, post it up and anytime life starts to feel like too much go back to that verse.
As another happy reminder to walk in Joy grab the FREE print from below and print it out! The Lord has come and that is why we can be joyful!