Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. ~Psalm 90:12 (NLT)
“I feel like a truck hit me.” My confession to my husband summed up our recent time off. The holidays and extra free days are supposed to refresh, but all I feel is worn. My great intentions of finding joy and being refreshed by some much-needed time off never happened. Events intervened and time ticked away catching up and dealing with undesired issues. Flashes of fun interspersed my break but somehow my quota of quiet never evolved. In the end, that proverbial truck hit me and I’m exhausted. Not a great entry into a year of finding joy.
Ironic (or maybe not) is when I felt like I needed to find my joy, I found turmoil. It’s been a challenge finding my joy these last few weeks since I felt God share this word with me, but I’m trying. While this post was originally planned differently, it’s still leading me back to one thing. In order to find my joy, I need to seek Him first.
Beginning my day with God is a habit I started a number of years ago and it never lets me down. A recent verse was exactly what I’ve tried to do especially these last few weeks:
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. ~Matthew 7:7 (NLT)
The last morning of my time off, I sat down to seek Him and He gave me these words:
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” ~Isaiah 43:2-3a (NLT)
God knew exactly what I needed and I used it in many applications through yet another rough day. He also gave me this in my reading that morning:
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1: 7-9
These verses strengthened me for the day ahead. They will continue to give us strength, especially for a year of finding joy. This post was originally going to be about habits. I had a different plan and when life got hectic, I was tempted to save time and skip writing this post. But then I realized, part of what God wants me to do is share with you how I follow Him-especially on the challenging days. This following Him walk is difficult, my friends. But as God reminded me and also you: He will be with us.
Seeking Him first is the habit I need to continue. When He feeds me the strength and wisdom I need in His Word and prayer, I find joy, even in the most challenging moments.
If your year ended or is beginning not exactly as you hoped like me, let’s keep seeking Him. Need to find joy? Find it in the little things-a verse God gives to you or a smile from a friend when they don’t even know you need it. Feeling overwhelmed? Create a new habit of chipping away at a big problem step by little step. Remember mountains are often moved one stone at a time.
Find your joy by habitually seeking His will.
Then obediently step out in faith. Every small step matters.
God is already showing me so many thoughts and ideas on how to find joy. I’ll share them with you here at the beginning of each month and on social media. So far, I’m finding the joy I seek isn’t always what I anticipated. Sometimes it’s my child doing the dishes without being asked or an unexpected helpful gift. Sometimes joy comes in simply finding the strength to persevere when feeling worn.
My habit of seeking Him refreshes my soul to keep following, one footprint at a time. I hope you’ll continue to seek and follow His footprints with me. If you need strength today, send a comment or post on social media using #FindingJoy and let’s together seek Him and find our joy. And if you’re interested, here’s my song for #FindingJoy this year. Enjoy Joy by Jonny Diaz!