Could You Use Some Joy About Now?


JoyI recently posted a devotional on the Proverbs 31 Ministries site and received about 900 comments from women, most of them with heartbreaking stories.

Just when I think I’ve heard it all, another woman will break my heart with what she has gone through in her marriage, as a parent, or as a woman who has experienced physical or emotional pain. Hurt will never go out of style. And I remember thinking, as I read through those stories, that as long as I’m writing for hurting hearts, there will, sadly, always be an audience for my books.

It’s sad, but it’s a reality of the broken world we live in.

And yet…I’m thinking you could use a little joy about now. Well, I’ve got good news for you: Experiencing joy is easier than you think.

I’m glad God didn’t give us a 1o step — or even a three-step process —  to experiencing joy in our lives. He basically told us there is one way, one step, one thing to do to experience His joy — regardless of our circumstances: Stay close to Him.

In Psalm 16:11 we read:

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever (NASB).

In Your presence. That’s our instruction for finding joy. Remain in His presence. That’s not a hard thing to do when you consider that Psalm 139 tells us there’s nowhere we can go where His presence does not follow.

Joy is not dependent on our circumstances. And that’s a good thing because our circumstances can change every day. Joy is dependent on our condition. And if you are a child of God (meaning you are trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your righteousness before God), then that condition — as His child — never changes. And that means, even when life deals you a blow, there is a deep-seated joy in your soul that cannot be shaken because of Whose you are. In fact, as you cling to the Lord, as you draw closer to Him, as you lean in to your Abba Daddy, that is when you sense His joy.

James 4:7-8 says:

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

There it is. Again. Draw near to God. He’s already there — in the same place He’s always been, with arms extended toward you. You are the one who needs to “draw near.” Tell Him all that’s on your heart. Trust Him even with what you don’t understand. Sing praises to Him, even in the pain. And you will experience His joy.

Only YOU can let life’s circumstances or someone else steal your joy. Don’t do it. Keep clinging tightly to Him.

Help me out, readers. How do YOU stay in His presence when life’s circumstances try to pull you down? Leave a comment in the section below and I’ll give away another couple of devotional books (God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart) for the most helpful suggestions.

 

Cindi
About me

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning author and national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She has nearly 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.

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14 Comments

Brittany Reed
Reply August 26, 2014

I like to sing. Singing helps me stay in His presence. I love to worship. I like to write too! Sometimes I may not express well what I want to say, but when I write I find a sense of freedom. Writing also helps when I'm full of emotion. Today, I feel very grouchy. I'm not really sure why. Ok yes I am. I haven't spent time writing in awhile and I need to. I'm a stay at home mom, and finding time for myself can be a challenge. I just want to soak in God's presence all day long. I'm determined to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier to soak in His presence.

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 26, 2014

    Those are some great thoughts, Brittany.I can relate to your need to write and get it all out so you can deal with life. I like what you said about worship, too. It ushers us into His presence where there is joy. Thanks for your response.

Lisa Hall
Reply August 26, 2014

I picture myself sitting on my favorite beach near the ocean, listening to the sound of the calming ocean, while holding Jesus' hand as I tell him all my worries.

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 26, 2014

    Thanks for that, Lisa. Sometimes just picturing Him there helps, doesn't it? I appreciate you sharing how you sense His presenc.

Tabbie
Reply August 26, 2014

Hi
I like what you have stated, that joy is dependent on a condition.
I believe to experience this God given joy one must stay in Christ, one must have Him as her only source of joy.
When I am hard hit by life issues I spend time worshipping, praising and thanking God. This helps me focus on the good things God has done for me.
My joy comes only from God.
That book please. Thank you

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 26, 2014

    Thanks, Tabbie. I appreciate your reminder to us that praising and thanking Him changes our perspective and focuses us on our reasons for joy in Him.

Chery
Reply August 26, 2014

Cindi, because of your post I visited Proverbs 31 site, signed up and now get the "Encouragement for Today". So thank you for that:-) I simply DO NOT start my day without your devotional, "God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart"!!! EVERY woman needs to RUN and buy it!!! It is heartbreaking, as you say, that so many women suffer. I too have suffered things that no one should ever have to endure. Unfortunately, that was before I knew God, so there was no peace to my suffering. Crazy... I just had an "ah-ha" moment. I've realized that since I decided to follow Jesus, I still experience suffering but it has purpose now, so it doesn't at all feel like it used to. I know God is working on me and He is there holding me as I grow and change. In my suffering I raise my hands to Him as I pray, and sometimes I just raise my hands without prayer. I visualize Him reaching down and taking my hands in His. I have worship songs running through my mind. I visualize curling up inside His hug. I pat the passenger seat in my car and say, "Buckle up Jesus!" Bible reading and verses are key. One of my favorites, Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God...". I have found that "getting out of His way" makes a huge difference, trusting Him for all I need to experience, knowing He is there in control. When I stay in His presence and I am flooded with His peace and comfort, as I experience whatever I need to. It's as if I can feel it wash over me. God is so good<3

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 26, 2014

    Thank you so much, Chery, for all those suggestions of how we can stay in God's presence and experience His joy. (And for all that, I'd send you a devotional, but since you already have one and read it every day, I'll save them for a few others who've responded to the bog and I'll send you out a copy of "When a Woman Discovers Her Dream" because I know you've been waiting for that one. :) Thank you for brightening our day with your input. You are much loved.

      Chery
      Reply August 26, 2014

      That's a GREAT idea! I would love for "my" devotional copy to go to another sister in need! I will look forward to, "When a Woman Discovers Her Dream"! Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity to share...and you are much loved too<3

Gigi
Reply August 30, 2014

I have just this moment discovered your website and blog via Crosswalk. I've actually have tears in my eyes right now. I am struggling with a "no" from God, and at the very least a "please wait". It involves my health, and waking in the middle of the night is when the panic hits. I love visuals, and I visualize a garden.......a beautiful garden.....and as I enter, Jesus is there with arms outstretched. I fall into his arms, and He holds me. Or, I crawl into his lap, and He holds me. It brings me peace. I also have recently finished a study of Psalm 23, and it I visualize Jesus as my shepherd, making me lie down in green pastures and leading me beside still waters. He anoints my head with oil. That also brings peace. Thank you for your website and blog. I'm glad I have discovered it!

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 30, 2014

    Hi Gigi: Welcome. I'm glad you have found encouragement here at my blog and website. I hope you also scrolled down and found my blog a few weeks ago called "When God's Gift is 'No." Stay with me and I hope to get you through this time of waiting so your discouragement turns to hope. Thank you for sharing with my readers, too, about how you remain in God's presence to experience His peace.

StrengthSoul
Reply September 1, 2014

Congratulations to Brittany Reed, Tabbie, Lisa Hall and Gigi for winning a purse-sized copy of my devotional, "God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart." I appreciate you sharing with me and my blog readers the creative ways you find joy in God's presence. Please email me at Cindi@StrengthForTheSoul.com with your mailing address.

    Brittany Reed
    Reply September 1, 2014

    Thank you Cindi! You are a great example of a godly woman, wife, mother, and friend. I love your blog and the fact that you're personable. Yours is my favorite to read, and I pray that your ministry continues to flourish. You are a great example of John 15, and Proverbs 31. Thank you again!

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