Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Joy to the World

Christmas is just around the corner...
lets all sing along "Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let Earth receive her King!"

The cold weather is slowly invading the days. While I am in such a happy place in life, I would be lying if I didn't say the weather scares me.

Raise your hand if any of you are with me on this one... Winter = Depression.

It never fails. The cold comes in and its like it invades my brain and my heart. According to some reliable sources (aka my roommate), this is a real psychological thing.
Seasonal Affective Disorder... SAD. Which is exactly normally how I feel during the cold season. And once spring comes in, it's like the blooming flowers cause my emotions to bloom into happiness.

So I dread winter. Every year I ask myself: How am I going to keep my joy when all of me wants to go cry in a corner for no reason?

This is not the only time that I have to ask myself how I can keep my joy amidst my circumstances or mindset. It happens daily. Its so easy for one small thing to go wrong and I quickly give away my joy.

God has called me to dwell in joy, not in sorrow, not in aggravation, not in anger...
When I have lost grasp of my joy, I know what I need to do to find it again. I challenge you to work with me to hold onto joy. Heres a few things we should probably do...

1. Its okay to cry. 

Crying does not mean that you have completely lost it. In most cases, crying lets you release some of that tension that's causing you to lose your joy.

Psalm 126:5- Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
Let it out. Get it out. Scream if you have to. Just cry until you run out of tears. Let someone rub your back if it helps. Or let them cry with you.
But-- do not go sit in a corner and cry with the mindset of "WHYYY MEEEE" or "MY LIFE SUCKSSSSS" or "SO UNFAIRRRR".
Don't think. Just cry.
Tears help cleanse the mind.

2. Turn off the playlist named "Sad Songs" or "Winter Blues" or "Adele's Album". Stop wallowing.

Thats right. Instead of saying "Oh I'm sad, lets turn on some sad music" lets instead go to "Oh I'm sad, lets put on some bumping Jesus music." Or just Jesus music in general. Your best bet is to find something that encourages you. Yes, I know misery loves company. But Joy does not let misery have company. Proverbs 15:13- A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

Throw the misery out the window after your good cry and put a smile on your face, put on the encouragement, and find a way out.

Faithful God by Carl Cartee always gets me bumping.

Psalm 95:1-2
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

"You turned my mourning into dancing and celebration
You took my sadness and You gave me Your Joy."

Hello, perfect lyrics!

3. Prayer. Its a given. C'mon. 

I can't do it on my own. Its by only the power of Christ that I can look past my circumstances and see His joy. The minute we begin to lose our joy, we should be asking for the strength to get it back.
With this in mind, prayer should be hand-in-hand with #1 and #2.
During your good cry, it's okay to say "God. I can't do this anymore." or "God. Help me."
During your bumping Jesus music sesh, turn it around. "God, I have a reason to praise You. I have a reason to keep my Joy"

And when all else fails, find a new perspective.
Whenever I'm feeling lost in my own misery, I need to go out by myself, drive around and pray, and try to see the world in a different way. I might go to a new town or a new store. I typically like to talk to strangers because they brighten my day. But its different for every person :)

I know for a lot of people, Christmas is a stress.
Presents, weird family situations, missing passed loved ones, old memories, cold weather...
The time when we sing "Joy to the world" can also be a time of a lack of joy for a lot of people.
God has planted joy in your heart.
Find it, grasp it, and sing it like you mean it this season.