Today's guest post is from Hope of Mending Hope.
“I am going through a terrible emotional roller coaster ride right now. I feel like a piece of raw meat, open and exposed and being beaten to a pulp. Emotionally and spiritually…I am a wreck.”
I penned those thoughts in my journal many years ago. Reading them now, I can still feel a twinge of that pain. I remember it all too well.
The next portion I wrote, though, speaks volumes:
“I feel like I’ve put a finger on my problem…I realize now that my past has stolen my joy from today.”
As a child, I went through some unspeakable things. For most of my life, I kept a lot of those things hidden. I didn’t want anyone to know. Shame imprisoned me.
Until God opened my eyes to the truth.
I am special. I am loved. My past does not define me. Out of all the horribly ugliness of my childhood, God shaped my life into something much more beautiful than even I could have ever imagined.
And He can do the same for you.
Isaiah 61:7 says it best, “Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”
How to Find Joy in the Journey
- Begin your day with thanksgiving. (Psalm 100:4) In everything, good or bad, always remember there is something to be thankful for.
- Offer the sacrifice of praise. (Hebrews 13:15) Praise is not meant to take place only when you’re on a mountaintop. It’s hard to give God praise when you don’t feel joyful; that’s precisely the moment when praise is necessary.
- Forgive. (Colossians 3:13) Forgiveness is not easy. It has taken me the better part of 35 years to forgive. Forgiving others (and yourself!) releases you from that heavy burden.
- Leave the past right where it is. (Philippians 3:13) If what happened in your past is what has robbed you of joy today, you have to leave it there. You can’t change what has already happened, but you do have control over what you do with it today.
- Count your blessings. (Psalm 5:12) When anger and resentment boil in your soul, it’s time to stop and start counting your blessings. No matter how many bad things might have happened in your life, God promises to bless the righteous. Name your blessings.
- Place your burden in His nail-scarred hands. (Psalm 55:22) You can carry your sorrow as long as you’d like. But why not just give it to Jesus? He will hold you up and give you strength.
- Give to others. (Luke 6:38) One of the easiest ways to experience joy is by doing something nice for others. When you give from your heart, God will always bless it. Whether you give financially, or through some type of community service, there is no end to the abundance of joy God will pour on you.
Your life might not look anything like you expected. It might seem that you’ve been given more than you can bear. No matter what problems or situations you encounter, there is a loving God who speaks peace…and wants you to find joy in the journey.
Photo by cupcakes2
Hope Wilbanks is a writer, wife, mother, teacher, and lover of Jesus. Her mission is encouraging women. You can read more about her at Mending Hope.