Lately I have felt like I have been running this race called life more out of self discipline and necessity than out of joyful obedience. It’s in those times when I tend to lose sight of the joy available to me. I begin to feel weighed down, tired, and honestly a little grumpy. God’s word calls us to “Always be full of joy in the Lord.” (Phil 4:4) No matter what we are facing.
If you look up the origins of the word joy you can find it derived from the Greek word Gēthein which means, “To Rejoice.” Joy isn’t just a feeling; it’s an act of obedience we are called to carry out. Each day I have a choice, I can choose to Rejoice in the Lord, and to focus my heart and eyes on him and his plan for my day or I can trudge along with my eyes focused on my own self set goals.
Learning to have joy in the Lord means letting go of the expectations you have set for your life and allowing God to show you his. It means learning that my life isn’t going to look like anyone else’s, my body isn’t going to look like anyone else’s, my family isn’t going to look like anyone else’s and that is OK because God created me unique with my own talents and strengths in his perfect image, for his delight. And you know what he did the same for you too. When we are able to let go of control and to trust his will when it doesn’t make sense that is when we will find true rest and joy. Only then will we fully be able to love the race we are running because then we can be sure it is the one God has called us to run. The best news is if it’s the one God has called me to run I know I’ll finish first because I’m the only one he has equipped to run it. That is one race I can run joyfully.