This week's memory verse:
"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10
Have you ever really thought about why you are the way you are? I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Why am I so positive all the time? Why am I able to find good in the bad and joy in the pain? People have been asking me the same questions lately.The number one reason I can come up with...that's the way God made me. I do believe that to some extent. I told someone yesterday that I think it might stem from being a "people pleaser" and wanting to make others around me happy. I just hate seeing others sad and unhappy, so I go out of my way to cheer people up. Sometimes it backfires...some don't want to be cheered up and find my personality annoying. That used to bother me, but now, I don't care! Makes me even cheerier around them!
But I don't think it can all be traced back to my personality. Enough bad things have happened to me in my life...and life in general is depressing enough to bring even this "Miss Suzy Sunshine"'down. It takes effort and faith to stay joyful in an UNjoyful world!
Look again at Paul, who while he was in jail and in chains, was able to rejoice and find joy!
"...Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." Philippians 1:18-19
Paul knew that God was with him and that through his problems, the message of Christ was reaching ears it wouldn't have reached other wise. People around him, even the prison guards saw his strength and his joy and he told them where it came from...he shared with them his faith in Christ...people wondered how a man could be in a rotten jail cell and still find joy and realized it HAD to be God that was giving him his strength. Paul was the ultimate example of joy in suffering! He was in chains BECAUSE of preaching the gospel and he kept doing just that, even in that dark, dank cell.
It makes me a little uncomfortable when people praise me for being so strong and joyful in hard times. With all that has happened in the last week with my husband's accident, many people have complimented me and acted in awe that I stayed so strong through it all. There is nothing special about me, except that I know where my strength comes from...from God. My faith has kept me going. Without my prayers and cries to God this last week, I would have been a spineless jellyfish laying under a table quivering with fear. I remained strong BECAUSE I know that ultimately I will be safe with the Lord forever. Call me naive, foolish, brainless, silly...whatever you like. But I KNOW that's where my strength comes from, and that's all that matters!
So, if you want to be strong in the hard times...if you want to be joyful more often...if you struggle with depression ( don't we all from time to time??? I DO get sad sometimes too!)...I challenge you to LOOK for the good in the bad...WORK at making someone else smile...find reasons to laugh even when you feel like crying...surround yourself with people...people who make you smile...but most of all have FAITH that ultimately God will take care of you.I don't have a magic pill or special words to give you to make you joyful. I just share what works for me. While wondering why I am the way I am, I end up finding more reasons to thank God! Thank you God for making me the way I am, and thank you for encouraging me to share and encourage others to be joyful in you too!