This September was rather uneventful for me. Since this school year I began attending my local community college as a Running Start student, my school year didn’t begin until the end of the month… and as such, I had little to do until then.
But the Lord still taught me important truths, as He always does 🙂
As I’ve talked about in past posts, in the last two years I’ve gone on two short-term mission trips to Mississippi. Both times, we had the same guide from the missions organization my church partnered with – and after team meetings or any other time when he’d be talking to us, he’d always close with “Enjoy your life”. I always found that phrase to be unusual, but I loved it all the same; and this month I decided to see what the Lord would teach me about it.
However, before we start, you know I can never go on without at least mentioning what I read in the Word this month:
- Ecclesiastes 10-12
- Isaiah 1-33
Now let’s explore what the Lord has taught me about joy this fine September.
9/2: “Lord, help me to rejoice and be glad, using my youthful passion to honor and make much of You. Help me remember You and walk with wisdom and discernment, all wrapped in joy. This season of life, even so large as being a teenager, makes the world seem limitless.”
9/4: “Thank You for this wonderful day to worship You and to overall refuel and recharge my creativity.”
9/6: “Thank You for another day in which to breathe and laugh. Though this world often drags me down, You are sovereign; and thus I can have joy and peace.”
9/7: “Thank You for the fact that boredom isn’t a permanent fixture in one’s life, but rather a means to lead one to enjoying when they do make a difference. Also, today when I was writing some of my old non-perfectionist ways returned and I felt a bit of a boost in my freedom and enjoyment of the written word regardless of how good it may be. There’s nowhere to go but up. I must just begin climbing.”
9/8: “Thank You for today’s time to live. For time with the kids, to play and dance, to read and feel and dream and write.”
9/9: “Lord, I thank You for creating me as beautiful, and for chasing me down constantly. I pray that everyone would know that You are chasing them down as well. Thank You for offering Yourself in innumerable ways. Thank You for being the Light who pulls us out of thick, hopeless darkness.
Here’s the thing… I don’t want to be a failure. I fear being a waste; fumbling away the opportunities You give me. So I just stop trying. But that’s no way to live! To live with joy is to embrace the messiness of any endeavor and roll with the punches, fully aware of Your sovereign guidance in it all. After all, the mistakes are what teach the most, often enough.
Thank You for the people I’ve been given to love… and my life.”
9/11: “You are a God of peace, truth, and generosity. You are intentional in every way. That’s what I want to be above all – not perfect, but intentional. Intentional and filled with joy. As without either, one simply goes through jumbled motions echoing a hopeless life. Lord, I want to live this way, but my feelings and impulses so often hold me back. Renew me, Lord God, to a fresh outlook and an active stance. Lead me in the way of joy-building intentionality.”
9/14: “Help me to number my days to gain a heart of wisdom, and to live with joy even in limbo. This is a fine, fine life, whether or not I have everything figured out; as I never will, and that’s okay.”
9/22: “Lord God, thank You for swallowing up the power of death. Thank You for Your goodness. Your power and worthiness to be praised. May I live with joy and worshipful action because of such fortifying realities.”
9/23: “Even if I don’t always feel Your peace, I can live with joy because I know that it and You are always there, guiding me. Everlasting Rock, Your firm foundation brings clarity simply in the form of a calling even when purpose shifts: To love You and love others. Lord God, I pray that You are glorified and honored in my life.”
9/25: “Lord, above all, enliven me with joy, as Your redemptive love is worth celebrating.”
A common thread I see in these journal excerpts is that of gratitude. When I’ve had a hard or busy or crazy day, often the thing that centers me back in the truth of God and His grace is simply thankfulness.
It’s easy to get caught up in the motions of life. Friend, here’s the point: Don’t let them take over you. Choose to consciously remember the blessings of the Lord. Both physical, visceral blessings, and inner spiritual and emotional fulfillment He offers.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In September I also read through an old journal of mine from back when I was 13 (Man, the hormones were raging haha…). That was a good reminder of how far the Lord has brought me. Remembering the faithfulness and blessings of the Lord always brings me joy. After all, how can one see how incredibly they’ve been blessed and not smile?
Take the time to be thankful, and if that’s hard for you, ask God to help. He will, trust me. I haven’t always found it easy to be thankful, but the Lord has always helped me and is still helping me. Remembering God’s faithfulness is, though underappreciated, a straight path to a life of joy and contentment. Keep on, friends 🙂
With that I say, Happy Thursday; and enjoy your life!