For nearly seven years my husband and I have waited patiently on the Lord for many promises to be fulfilled including the gift of children to our marriage. As I have matured in this journey I feel the challenge or rather the opportunity that Jesus presents to me is unique.
I believe Jesus is inviting me to walk in joy and with joy each day in the NOW. To rejoice in the day. To find joy and express joy within the current days and season I am in. For if I can do this, then what a powerful weapon I will have against all that life may throw at me. If I can truly learn to walk in joy and walk in thankfulness, no matter the circumstances I will be unstoppable, as joy is contagious and powerful in the Kingdom of God.
What fills you with joy?
Lately God has been restoring drawing and painting back to me after many years of me shelving it. I have realised that God knows me and what brings me joy better than I even know myself. It has been really fun getting back to expressing my relationship with Jesus through pencils and a brush.
Around the same time God has also brought me into a new freedom to dance before him even in public places. After stirring me for years to dance and even seeing dance moves when I have prayed, I now have stepped out and started to dance in church and home fellowship or whenever the Holy Spirit prompts me.
Dancing releases me into a place of complete freedom and worship and helps me get the focus off myself and onto God. It helps me move and feel physically good (we were made to move) and further, God has even spoken into my heart about dance being a strategy he has given me to counteract anxiety! I have again realised that he knows me and what brings me to a place of freedom and joy, better than I do.
What you were made to do will bring you joy, if you can figure out what God made you for. I was made to be a songwriter and to sing in God’s presence so this fills me with joy! Other things that bring me joy are op-shopping, praying with women and being amongst nature’s beauty and animals. For my husband his joy tank gets filled when he surfs good waves, paints, catches up with his friends, ministers to others and when he sits in God’s presence. What brings you joy? What fills up your joy tank? How could you increase the level of joy in your life?
What about joy in the mundane?
Is it possible to find joy whilst at work and find joy moments in each day and even to find joy in the mundane? I believe it is possible if we learn to access that part of Gods character. Did you know that God loves laughing and laughter? He invented it!
I look after a three year old boy each day for work and I have found amongst all the cleaning and washing that comes with the job, that engaging myself fully in play with him when we are playing is the key to finding joy and laughter in my days. Three year olds play the most imaginative pretend play scenarios; one moment we’re on a rocket then next minute he’s pretending to be a snail with a washing basket on his back. I’m learning that these are my opportunities to laugh and have fun and access God’s gift of joy within me.
The other key I believe I am learning is simply thankfulness and cultivating a heart for others. This will make the most mundane task easier as I am able to be thankful to serve the family I work for, or thankful to do the dishes to bless my husband. Being thankful helps my heart be positive and be positioned for God’s joy to be increased in my heart and life. For example, today I got home after work feeling thankful for even having a job, having my health, a family who loves me and even more, a God who loves me and who promises me a bright and beautiful life and future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Joy as a weapon
Joy can even be a weapon against the enemy as happiness relies on circumstances but joy is deeper and keeps us in a place of rejoicing in God. In John chapter 10 verse 10 it says: ‘the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come to give you life and life to the full.’ In other words, God offers us life in the fullness of his joy. He calls us to walk with joy and without burdens as ‘his burden is light and and his yoke is easy’ (Matthew 11:28).
I have seen friends walk with God’s joy through difficult circumstances and I have experienced some of this myself. This is because our joy is found in the Lord ‘The joy of the Lord is our strength’ (Nehemiah chapter 8 verse 10.) We need to be alert for the enemy prowls around us looking to steal our peace and steal our joy, deceive us and make us question the truth of what God has spoken to us and promised us.
Speaking forth joy
This is why it is important how we speak and what we declare. How we speak can produce in us feelings of either joy or despair. If we start saying how everything is going wrong and nothing is going to turn out, it will affect the atmosphere around us and our mindsets. However, if we speak forth thankfulness and joy and declare God’s promises and his words over us, we begin to feel God’s hope again and it helps us stay in the truth of God’s word over us.
We also overcome by the word of our testimony, in other words reminding ourselves of all the times and ways God has come through for us and been faithful. I sing out my worship and trust in God at the piano. Everyone does this differently. I also find mornings a defining time in my day to get into alignment with God through worship, singing and declaration even on my drive to work.
Grow in joy
I want to grow in joy. Do you? What would it look like if we believers really did ‘count all sufferings as joy?’ (James 1:2-5). Wouldn’t it be amazing if we became known as people who have joy even through disappointment, sickness or heartache. For we always can find a reason to dance; we have a saviour who loves us and we have his great and precious promises. What an amazing inspiration we have then to create joyful churches, joy filled marriages, and bring joy into our workplaces. After all joy is one of the fruits that the Holy Spirit wants to produce in us. Bless you as you learn to walk in joy too!
Liana Monaghan is a trained teacher working as a personal assistant/ nanny. She is also a songwriter and singer working towards her dream of releasing her first album. Liana runs a creative house fellowship weekly with her husband Justin where they explore creative expressions of worship in the Arts.