Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Middle Name

So I'm really bad at the blog thing! Sometimes I just wish I was one of those super bloggers. You know, like J* or Carlos Whittaker or the up-and-coming Ryan Shaughnessy. Life goes on!

Just to avoid all the guessing, my middle name is "Joy" after my momma. As I wrote in my last post I've been going through a season with the Lord, and joy and what it means to be joyful has been heavily on my mind. I just want to be honest and share this with you: I've had it all wrong!

SO, I have been praying my heart out for the Lord to refresh my spirit and for him to "restore me to the joy of His salvation" (Psalm 51:12). I have been begging for joy, genuine joy. I wanted to feel not just happy but joyful. Sure enough, not much changed among all those prayers. I felt ignored and really questioned why God would want me to be unhappy and feel the weight of this world pressing down on me. I adopted a sort of 'I give up' kind of attitude and carried on and really stopped trying.

There was something super wrong with what I was praying for. Here's what I wasn't doing. I was not fighting for it, I was simply asking for it to be plopped down onto me in the middle of the night. I also was not desiring the Source of joy. All I wanted was to feel joyful, end of story. I didn't really care if God was attached to it, I just knew he could give it! I wasn't seeing joy as a gift, but rather something he owed me.
Geez, how lazy and selfish I am!

It's no wonder God did not grant my request for that pure lazy and selfish "joy" that I demanded! I have been reading "When I Don't Desire God" by John Piper and He has helped me realize the error in my desire for joy. Here's what I know now: Joy is not something that is easy to obtain and it must be fought for. There are too many things in this world that are going to try to sap that chance at experiencing God-given joy. 2 Corinthians 4:4 talks about how "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." Satan is after our perception of Jesus. He wants to distort it and he aims at preventing us from seeing who Jesus really is. We have to be battling for joy daily.

Also, joy is a spontaneous gift from God. I mean, think about it. Can you remember the last time you planned on being truly joyful? Hah, I would've planned that one a long time ago! Yeah, doesn't happen on our own timing. We have to fight for joy, and allow Him to create it for us. Joy is not something that we were commanded to learn to create, we were told to experience Him as the true source of joy. Isn't that cool? Part of our act of obedience is experiencing him so we can have a joy that fulfills. We serve a God who wants us to find joy in him because it is the only thing that will satisfy. I can say that I understand what He meant when He said "my yoke is easy and my burden is light" in Matthew.

Don't give up fighting for joy! It is a "good fight" just as Paul said. It is worthwhile and it is fulfilling. I fight beside you all!

Look out for some updates on some Cru excitements for this upcoming year. I can't wait to share!


  1. HA....You're funny

    But thanks for sharing this :)

  2. Well said Shannon! Being joyful is such a constant battle! So often for me I confuse being joyful with being happy and always having a "great" day but that is SUCH a distortion of the truth. When Jesus, "for the joy set before Him endured the cross," I don't think He was having one of those "oh happy" days, but His joy was in the knowledge of the beauty of God and the redemption of Himself! We must find our joy in the promise of eternal life with our Heavenly Father!

    Thanks for sharing!! I'll be praying for you as you continue in this journey


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