Your Joy is Your Strength

11199399_1581552952122173_1678725977_nI keep meaning to get on here and write but apparently my baby can climb the steps now, so ya. Also, it’s 85 degrees out. I know it’s been summer everywhere else in the country for like two months, but seriously you guys— EIGHTY FIVE DEGREES. Sometimes I just have to go outside barefoot for a few minutes before I can sit down calm enough to write.

The other day I was walking around the block pushing Roman in his stroller. It had been a rough day, rough week…a really rough winter and season of life if I’m being honest. While I walked, I kept thinking about this verse, “…the joy of the LORD is your strength” {Nehemiah 8:10}.

I struggle with being a joyful person. I tend to be a pessimist and often see the negative in a situation before I catch sight of the good. I have good days when I feel positive and hopeful but even more days when I struggle with seeing the hope, joy, and light all around me.

So I mulled over this verse and thought about what it means for me on the days when I’m weighed down and overwhelmed, when I’m struggling against the darkness and missing the light.

I thought about strength and finding strength in joy. Strength—I’ve been tired lately, more tired than I was when Roman was just born. And the idea of strength for my days and the tasks before me—that is something I’m searching for.

It didn’t make sense to me, how joy could give me strength. But the more I mull over these words, the better I understand just how true they are. It’s hard to feel discouraged when I choose to focus my thoughts on God and all his mercy and gifts to me. Even when I’m tired, discouraged, overwhelmed—remembering all God has brought me through, all he has given me—these things fill my mind with joy and it is true, that in that joy, there is strength. When I am consciously choosing to think right—choosing joy—I am encouraged and find the strength I need for that day.

Of course I still have bad days, I’m not happy or encouraged all the time. But I’m finding that I have a lot of power over my own thinking and the way I choose to think greatly impacts my mood and the way I choose to live each day. If I choose to dwell on those things that frustrate and discourage me, then it’s no surprise when I find myself discouraged and overwhelmed. But if I choose to dwell on all the good and hope in my life each day, there is strength and joy enough even for the hard things.

So I’m learning, learning to choose joy. Learning to control my own thoughts and beliefs about life rather than being tossed around by difficult and changing circumstances.

My joy, the joy of the Lord, is my strength—it’s not just a saying or a pretty verse, it’s a way of thinking and living and there is so much hope to be found in living a life filled with joy, strength, and peace rather than gloom and discouragement.