Unfettered Joy

21 Dec

I just took my dog Katy for a walk and as I felt the sun on my face and the cool breeze on my face, I also felt something I haven’t felt in a quite a while: unfettered joy.

As I walked along the familiar streets, watching Katy’s ears cutely bounce up and down as they do, I had complete joy. As I type these words, I still have complete joy. It’s amazing!

And I know it’s from God. I’ve been reading Walking With God by John Eldredge and it has really changed the way I think about my relationship with God. There are a lot of things I could mention but I’ll just focus on one: spending time listening to God in my quiet times. When I first became a Christian, I soaked up everything I could about the Bible. I spent hours reading and studying it. I prayed little. Over the past year, I have started praying a lot more. I pray out loud most of the time – a lot of times, I do it in the car instead of listening to the radio. I still do both of those but now I’m learning to listen. To not just tell God my side of the story but to hear Him speak directly to me. (If you want to know more, read the book.)

But this morning, as I was writing about the things the book had brought to my attention about myself, I felt myself getting anxious about spending so much time with God because I had planned on starting work at 8:00 and it was now past that time. One of the thoughts Eldredge writes in his book is looking at the fruit of a thought or action in your life – you can determine where it came from (God or Satan) by looking at what the outcome is in your life. Well, the outcome of whatever I was worrying about was anxiety – definitely from Satan. So I asked God, “Why am I always anxious when I’m spending time with you in the morning?”

This what I discovered:

“Even though I have been praying more often and being mindful of God throughout the day, I have been asking God’s blessing and strength on all the things that I have undertaken. I view my life as my responsibility – I need to make it count. I view each day that way and am stressed out as a result. I need to trust God that He will get done in my life (and every day) what He wants to get done. He is the One sanctifying me. I just need to follow His lead, cooperate with what He is doing. I had made an agreement that God wouldn’t help me so I had to do it myself. I wanted so much to be holy but felt like I continued to fail, so instead of waiting on God to help me, I forged ahead and tried to make myself holy. But here’s the great part: It’s not up to me!”

This was the little dark cloud hanging over my head that wouldn’t let me have complete joy. I still thought everything was up to me. I felt responsible for everything in my life. For making it all work. For making it count. For becoming Christ-like. But now I see that I can relax and just follow Christ’s lead. He knows what I need, better than I do. He will guide me into the areas of my life that I need to work on. I just need to rest in His finished work and in His promise that He will sanctify me.

As I am experiencing this joy, I am very thankful – thankful that God has shown me He cares about my joy, cares about my understanding of what Jesus has done for me. In this process of sanctification, He isn’t helping me – I am helping Him. He is the One doing all the work – I’m just cooperating. God is awesome.

2 Responses to “Unfettered Joy”

  1. B. in the Know December 21, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    So glad you are so joyful! You should send some of that sunshine to MN…we need it. Desperately.
    Much love,

  2. specialkkluthe December 22, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    Only if you send some of your snow our way! 😉

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