Hello, world! So, I’m officially rubbish at electronic communication – anyone who’s been waiting on a text back from me will understand this 100% (sorry, again!) I’ve been meaning to write this post for the last week, and so, here it is…
The first (and now second!) week of Joyful January is down, and it’s been interesting – I’ve found that forcing myself to meditate and work back to a specific verse has been a good exercise for me, but one that I know I’m not brilliant at… but hopefully by the end of January I’ll be a pro!
As seems to be the format, I thought I’d share my thoughts from days 3-7 with you for now, and as its the end of the first week, maybe something a little more concrete at the end (!)
Joyful January 3rd: Day 3
“be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer” | Romans 12:12
- Joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit (full list somewhere in Galatians 5, I seem to remember…)
- Joy is a living, breathing gift that grows within us when we let it
- It is almost always mentioned alongside other fruits of the Spirit (like patience here)
- This verse is followed by instructions about hospitality of others – not necessarily the hospitality of welcoming others to our homes for a slap-up meal and some vino, but the hospitality of those who are suffering, and walking alongside them
- This is in a letter written to the church in Rome
- Joy comes in the hope of Jesus (wahoo!)
- Joy is bigger than our situations
Thank You for…
- Opportunities to grow and develop at work
- Opportunities to work with some pretty cool young people
- Little bro life plans
- Kind funders and grant-makers to apply to!
- Poetry (Rupi Kaur is a genius)
Joyful January 4th: Day 4
“when anxiety was great within me, your consolation bought me joy” | Psalm 94:19
- God’s joy is steadfast and solid – making an idol out of joy isn’t steadfast or solid, because joy comes from God, and is not God in it’s own right
- Joy is kind of like trust? (Hopefully we’re consoled by people we trust, right?)
- God’s joy is like a foundation
- Was Jesus joyful in the Garden of Gethsemane?
- When was Jesus joyful? (What about when He kicked off in the temple?!) Was he suffering and joyful at the same time?
- Psalm 94:12 deals with God dealing with us and disciplining us
- Joy comes out of God’s discipline – joy isn’t always a pleasant experience?
- Joy is sometime most present in difficult situations (aint that the truth)
- Even when we slip, God brings his joy to us
Thank You for…
- I didn’t write any thank yous, which is a bit awkward (ha)
Joyful January 5th: Day 5
“this is the day the Lord has made – we will rejoice and be glad in it” | Psalm 118:24
- What about when the day is just crap? Did God make those days too?
- What do I feel today? It has been pretty crappy, to be honest
- Can I still share God’s goodness and joy with others when I don’t ‘feel’ joyful?
- Joy and happiness are definitely not the same thing, otherwise what is the point?
- When we are honest with God about where we are, this is when joy manifests itself within us, when we open up/leave our ‘stuff’ with him
Thank You for…
- Helpful colleagues
- My therapist (she is one wise lady)
- Time with lil sister
- Having a happy (and clean!) guinea pig
Joyful January 6th: Day 6
“even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, I will rejoice in the Lord – I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” | Habbakuk 3:17-18
- This is a little too close to Job, and that is one joyless book. Joyless Job, anyone?
- How often do I look to God when it feels like its falling apart?
- Maybe joy is like a nickname for God? (Not an idol, just a nice name)
- How does God give joy to us when things appear to be joyless? (Cue Holy Spirit)
- Even in times of loss and when things happen outside of his control, Habbakuk still found strength and ‘joy’ in God and his faith
- Habbakuk gives a good example of how to look to God when things are tough
Thank You for,,.
- Joy in tricky times
- The Holy Spirit
- That God stays the same
Joyful January 7th: Day 7
“you make known to me the path of life – you will fill me with joy in your presence; with eternal pleasures at your right hand” | Psalm 16:11
- Jesus sits at God’s right hand, doesn’t He?
- God’s plan for us, or the path for our lives, is not meant to be joyless
- I reckon God has some special things just for Annie, and I think there’s some special joy already working its way out in my life right now
- I can tap into this joy any time I like!
- Happiness is definitely temporary
- Joy is found within God’s presence, which, even when it doesn’t feel like it’s permanent, definitely is not temporary
- God can be manifest in situations and within us even when we go through absolute crap!
Thank You for…
- Unlimited access to God’s presence
- The realisation that happiness is not the same as joy (so joy is definitely accessible even with depression)
Week 1: A Week of Joyful Realisation
This first week of Joyful January has, if I’m honest, bought home to me some real home truths about God and my relationship with him and my emotions, too. Joy isn’t meant to be something that only turns up when things are going well in my life, or when I feel happy – because being happy and being joyful isn’t the same. There seems to be a theme through the Scriptures I’ve chosen this week (which wasn’t intentional – so thank You Jesus for speaking to me!), which is all around joy showing up in crummy situations, and God’s people choosing to find joy in those times as well as the times when things look pretty rosy. I feel like I’ve realised that joy doesn’t disappear when I cry, or when I get frustrated with bus drivers (or TFL generally, to be honest), or when I feel let down or let others down, or when the shop opposite my office run out of pain au chocolat. Joy is something that is meant to be permanent, just as God is permanent, and rather than a feeling of happiness or a warm gooey feeling in my chest, it’s meant to be the basis and foundation – a trust if you like – in the God who saved me, and who I’m pretty sure will keep on saving me still.
Peace and blessings x