"Sometimes I feel like I'm failing because I'm not joyful all the time." This was written to me by a friend of mine in a Facebook message, but I could have written it myself.
I think perhaps I tend to think of joy as "happiness" but it's not. There are many times when I'm honestly not exactly sure what joy looks/feels like.
Lately, however, as I combat an underlying spirit of anger and anxiety, I'm asking God more and more to show me what true joy is, because I'm obviously confused.
So I began a journey of searching the Scriptures for what they have to say about joy. I really wanted to get beyond the really popular verses that are so easy for my mind to glaze over out of familiarity (even though they are still living and active!) to new words that might challenge my preconceived notions of what joy looks, feels and sounds like.
If you're like me, and you find yourself struggling with finding or having joy, particularly amidst the Christmas season, I want to share with you 5 Verses to Renew Your Joy. I pray that they will speak to your heart as much as they do mine, and give you a fresh view of joy.
Satisfy us with in the morning with Your faithful love so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14 HCSB
My dad used to say all the time when I was growing up, "If God isn't your first thought of the day, He'll be your last thought all day." I don't know about you, but I have sure found that to be true! Mornings with littles can be tough (mornings with teens just as tough, from what I hear), but if we can take even just a few minutes to whisper a prayer to our Father, and read a verse to set our hearts on Him before the chaos ensues, things will go much smoother. There may still be lost shoes and ripped homework and empty gas tanks, but our hearts will be much better equipped to deal with it.
Also, look at why we are full of joy and be glad all our days: His faithful love. Dwelling and meditating on His perfect, unfailing love is what keeps our eyes focused on Truth, and what brims joy overflowing in our hearts, no matter the circumstances.
When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:18-19
Anyone else struggle with anxiety? Anyone else feel lately like their foot is slipping and at any minute you will be sliding down the cliff-face of life? What an amazing verse to pray! Once again, it is His consolation - His Words, found in His presence - not perfect circumstances or perfectly obedient children or the perfectly tidy house or the perfectly paid-off bills, that brings joy.
After worshipping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Luke 24:52 HSCB
Are you detecting a theme here? This verse comes right after Jesus ascended into Heaven after appearing to the disciples after His resurrection. What this verse tells me is that worshipping Christ is what leads to joy. When all else fails, leave the dishes, the laundry can wait. When your joy is nowhere to be found, worship Him. When you don't know what else to do, worship Him. When you're bone weary and not sure you can do this thing one.more.day., worship Him. Sit at His feet and look at who He is. Joy will begin to brew, I promise.
How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven and whose sins are covered. How joyful is the man the Lord will never charge with sin! Romans 4:7-8 HCSB
Sometimes, we get a little comfortable in our ways, in our routines. Sometimes sin has a way of creeping into our hearts and lives without us really even realizing it. Then sometimes, there is blatant sin of which we are fully aware, and are trying to ignore. Whatever the case, if we have unconfessed sin lingering in our hearts, our relationship with God will will be hindered. If our relationship with God is hindered, after seeing the verses above, it's no wonder our joy is extinct! Spend some time confessing those things to God, no matter how insignificant they seem. If you can't think of any, but still feel perhaps you've missed something, ask God to show you your sin. A scary prayer, to be sure, but the resulting sweet renewal with God is well worth it.
Finally, friend, I want to leave you with a prayer of blessing over you and your family, from His word and my heart, to yours:
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 HCSB
What verses renew your joy? Share them in the comments!