Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high, And cheer us by your drawing nigh, Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death’s dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!
The closer I am to God, the more joyful I am. I think it has to do with my perspective and how He shifts it to more of a Kingdom orientation. That isn’t to say there aren’t gloomy clouds, but when I am in His presence, the clouds are more easily dispersed.
I love how many spiritual songs and hymns are so relatable! It’s as if these authors have also struggled with similar life situations. We are all human and can learn from the experiences of one another. We are created by the Life-giver and we should be sharing life-giving words with one another.
The closer I am walking with God, the more encouraging I am. His Word fills me up and those words naturally spill out in conversation.
Come, Lord Jesus! Liz
Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel Translated: John Neal, 1818-66
Oh, come, O Key of David, come, And open wide our heav’nly home; Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel!
Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel Translated: John Neal, 1818-66
There is a path to misery.
Sometimes I have been railroaded down it by circumstances mixed with the company I kept. Sometimes a bout with depression can send me on the path to misery, but it’s not a journey I wish on anyone. Sometimes, our life isn’t actually very miserable but we find ourselves feeling miserable and that is a often a choice. It would be important to get to the root of the misery.
I am not a psychologist. I know I have a positive temperament and I don’t know whether it is a nature or nurture thing. I watched my mom deal with difficult things and it was rare for her to show she was discouraged. Others I know take a tiny negative thing (yes, a very insignificant happening) and it triggers them to an outburst that makes it seem like their world is collapsing.
I do not get it.
I pray that God closes that path to misery for me. But He doesn’t promise that at all.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. [James 1:2-3. ESV]
Joy in the midst of devastating circumstances is not something I have perfected. God’s Word says to count it all joy but I think the best I can wrap my head around is give me peace in these circumstances. We do all have different definitions of trials but I look at the difficult things in my life and it pales in comparison to the difficulties of others.
The moments of joy float in and out of my day. And sometimes the weight of the world and the day set in and try to steal my capacity for joy. Unfortunately, I can be a reactor to my immediate circumstances instead of looking at the big picture and God’s work in and through all of it.
When I am in the midst of a joy-less moment, I try to remember to think, “Lord, I can’t wait to see what you do with this!” If I don’t dwell on my circumstances and I just keep moving forward, time will pass and I will soon realize that I have made it through the muck and mire to a new place, a place where there is more.
More true joy!
There is no law against it!
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
When I am asked to serve someone I care deeply for, it is a joy. When I am asked to serve a stranger, I might also do it with joy. But, as human nature would have it, if I am asked to serve someone I know and I do not like, I need to ask God to change my heart and perspective and focus on Who I am doing it for. When my heart and mind are right with God, the “serve” is all from Him, regardless of the situation.
If I find myself stuck and unable to freely give, it is important to pray and ask God to reveal what is behind it. I know I won’t do everything perfectly. Sometimes situations are in my life for my benefit. Serving others could be simply a byproduct of God working on my heart and perspective. Someone may receive from me but the greater outcome is what God is doing with my heart.
I don’t believe I am meant to fulfill every need that is out there. But creating space in my day can allow me to be available to serve when the opportunity presents itself. The task might be a meal delivered to a grieving family or participating in a Habitat for Humanity home build. Sometimes the opportunity for serving is in my zone of “easy” and other times it takes more time, effort, and money. There is no one way serving looks except that it comes from a heart that overflows.
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. [Colossians 3:23-24 NIV]
Blessings to you as you ponder your capacity for serving others!
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
“I’m dancing as fast as I can.”
“Dancing with the devil.”
“Do the hustle.”
Dancing is a great metaphor for relationships and expectations. It can also be an expression of joy and release.
Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. [Psalm 149:3 NIV]
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. [Psalm 30:11-12 NIV]
When was the last time you danced?
I like to dance a little here and there but I don’t dance nearly enough. I am more inclined to dance alone because my heart for dancing and my skill set are so woefully unmatched I know I will be embarrassed. I am just too uncomfortable knowing that others could be watching me or, worse yet, filming me! That’s unfortunate because dancing is good for you in a variety of ways. And it wasn’t designed to be a competition that intimidates people.
I have danced a few steps in response to a victory of some sort. I like a slow dance with my husband. And I would like to learn more Hungarian folk dancing. But I really don’t consider myself a dancer and I certainly don’t know much about dancing in a technical way.
Dancing is closely related to joy for me. Even though I don’t dance often when I do it is typically because I am feeling pretty excited about something. It’s a fun way to celebrate and express joy.
I do know a bit about the relief and release that comes after a period of mourning and the permission or sense of release that it is ok to dance. The mourning time has ceased and it’s a new day and a new situation and I can dance in spite of the mess I just walked through. I might dance in the middle of my circumstances because I know God is working out the details or because I know time is short and life is short and I can wallow about this or that or I can dance to pass the time.
The other day I made a very public mistake. You may not have noticed it. I certainly didn’t notice it because if I had, I would not have done it. I am not a perfectionist by any means but when I share information I want it to be accurate, properly spelled, and all that.
Almost the entire day had gone by and finally someone pointed out that I had made a mistake. Actually, I had made several. (Oh how I hate when that happens!) Immediately, I got to work to correct it! And, sadly, it took several tries. For whatever reason, the initial person to point out the error was not able to assist in the correction. However, another person stepped in to stick with me through the process with a lot of patience, she was very pleasant and helpful.
I want to be that kind of person!
A complete stranger stepped in to work with me. How thoughtful and kind! And I wondered, “Am I the one who just points out mistakes or am I the person who will patiently stick with someone as they get it together?” Good question! Sometimes I am both!
I have noticed in myself that there are times I have a lot of compassion for others and there are other times I am so incredibly impatient. Sometimes it has to do with the kind of day I had or the amount of free time I have to help another person. And, sadly, sometimes it has to do with the person I am in conversation with or, at the very least, my perception of the person.
Sometimes I am so stingy with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness!
But when I am on the receiving end of correction, am I approachable and teachable? Am I willing to listen to what someone has to say and consider it? Naturally, I am more willing to hear from someone I know and love and I know knows and loves me. But there are times a complete stranger, or even someone I don’t particularly like, has valuable insight for me. Can I hear it?
I have to practice receiving correction with grace and humility because it is not my inclination. My first response is usually to be a little defensive but I have been working on that. There are numerous opportunities for me to improve on my response. What can I say? I am a work in progress!
Heavenly Father, give me your discernment when someone shares advice or correction with me. Lord, grant me discernment when I am inclined to share advice or correction with others! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
On the Road,
p.s. Can you tell I am having too much fun with Canva?