This past weekend, Anna and I had the opportunity to talk about the subject of Joy. Since Easter, we have been asked to step outside our comfort zones and host a 10-minute videocast on Sunday mornings on our church’s Facebook page. It has been our goal to be as transparent as possible about the real us in light of the pandemic. It has been challenging, revealing, and enjoyable fun for us!
I’m not sure how we chose joy as last week’s topic, but to reacquaint myself with what true joy is supposed to look like, I returned to my 2020 Psalms study. The Psalms are found in the middle of any Bible, and they are a great read when you’re walking through an emotional, turbulent, or even an overwhelming time in your life. David, the author of Psalms, had a way of capturing raw emotion and turning them into songs.
In my study, I came across Psalms 37:5-7 which reads:
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret…“
As I was reading that Scripture, certain words jumped off the page to me. In this pandemic season, our promotional merch printing business is down by a whopping 60%, Anna has been working frequently in the Covid unit at the hospital, our church will be reopening soon, and Cora is debating on whether or not to return to school in person.
I’ve got a giant pit in my stomach over all of this.
It is nothing too painful, just an uneasy uncertainty that just sits there. In fact, I feel it so frequently that I’ve almost gotten used to it. However, this week God gave me a name for my pit. He called it “Fret.” God reminded me that the uneasy feeling I have is not from Him, and if I continue to walk in His ways, He won’t let me fall because the King of the universe is upholding me. He sees me as valuable enough to make my steps firm personally. What a God! What an offer!
Psalms 37:23-24 goes on to say:
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
That Scripture has compelled me to take an inventory of my life and what the Lord would or would not delight in. It is a tough and ongoing task, but it’s a healthy one. I am beginning to recognize that a challenge like this comes from the Holy Spirit when compelling refinement and not condemnation. It felt like God was a good coach saying: “Shawn, I have you in a starting position on my team. You’re my guy no matter what, but you’ll be a better player, and this will be easier for you if you make your ways delightful.”
But what does making my ways ‘delightful’ even mean?
Philippians 4:8 breaks it down for us.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
I’m simple, so I needed it broken down even more. 3 words: “Don’t be selfish.”
This week, will you join me in making our focus be on others? There really is nothing more excellent, lovely admirable, praiseworthy, or dare I say joyful than being selfless.
If you have a moment to share how God stepped into a circumstance and joy was the result, I would love to hear it. Please leave your story in the comments, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will get through this together!
In His service and at yours!