Posted in musings

fighting for joy

In gardening news, Rondel and I planted most of the purple sweet potato slips this weekend! Some were a lot bigger than others, so we’ll see if they all make it or not… the orange ones will need to grow a bit more in their jars first, but we left some space for them.

In other news, I was thinking this week about how joy can’t be taken for granted but must be fought for, sometimes by tooth and nail. I can’t just assume that relationships and circumstances will happily accommodate me, nor can I assume that my response to adverse situations will be one of cheerfulness and contentment. If I want to have joy, I have to do the hard work of maintaining it in my heart.

Practically, I know that there are a few specific things that consistently impair my ability to be joyful: issues with my husband, a lack of prayer, and sleep deprivation. (Hormones also play a role but there’s less I can actively do about that!) So when the morning starts off with a misunderstanding or argument with my husband, it tends to color my whole day in blacks and grays; by default, I either become sad and depressed or bitter and resentful. If joy really matters to me, I have to be willing to swallow my pride, bury my anger, and actively seek reconciliation and understanding again. Sometimes it’s as simple as a “sorry for what happened – I love you” sort of text – and yet, while it may be simple, it sometimes seems like an impossible task.

But it all comes down to whether or not I really want to live with joy. I don’t believe that I will always be able to have joy, no matter how hard I strive for it, but I do believe that it is a very different thing to be overwhelmed by my emotions and sinful tendencies but to still be fighting with all my strength for hope and peace and joy, than to raise the white flag to the general progression of discontent and stress and insecurity without a second thought. And after all, our joy is directly commanded by God. It is not a trivial or selfish thing to fight for it, but something that pleases Him and blesses everyone around us – so it is very much worth the effort that it takes.

In the emptiness of bleak despair, He is my fullness and hope.

In the piercing pain of loneliness, He is my comforter and my companion.

In the gnawing fear of inadequacy and rejection, He is my helper and the lover of my soul.

In the storm of brokenness and sin (my own and others’) that threatens to capsize me, He is the source and sustainer of my joy, and it is under His flag that I fight when I fight for joy.

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