I've been robbed! It crept in like a thief in the night, and it robbed me. Right under my nose, it was gone in a flash. Something stole my joy.
I didn't even realize what had happened until my pastor pointed it out to me, along with the rest of the congregation, Sunday. It explained everything -- the exhaustion, the stress, the difficulty, the pain... It had been snatched right out from under my nose!
I am a joyful person. Anyone that has been around me for any amount of time sees that joy just naturally flows out of me. However, anyone who has been around me lately that really knows me, and you know who you are, could tell very quickly that I was straining to muster that joy up to the surface. When it isn't flowing out naturally, it takes a lot of work and takes a lot out of me.
I have been drained. I have been flat worn out. I have felt trapped by circumstances that really aren't that bad, but that have managed to take control of my life, sapping me of everything I have. It's almost like my hope had floundered, when in reality I lost my focus.
You see, our circumstances don't control our joy. I know this, but I needed to be reminded of it. Our happiness is many times dependent on our circumstances, although I am also a big believer in being in control of our happiness no matter what. Joy, on the other hand, comes from the Lord. It is a natural out-flowing of what He is doing in our lives. When we lose the focus of the bigger picture of what God has for us, we can let that joy slip deeper within us, almost as if it gets covered up by the other gunk in our lives. (And I, like most of you, have plenty of gunk.)
I have rarely allowed the gunk to take over. I am not a person who allows very much to take over the joy in my life. This has happened another time in my life when I was overwhelmed with moving to South Carolina, my health was bad, and I was trying to keep up with 4 small children without any help. This time, it has been more vague. It has been a slow culmination of things that have finally weighed me down. The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back is my most recent exhaustion. Fortunately, God knew I needed a word, an out loud word, and I heard it loud and clear Sunday.
My hope has been renewed. My priorities have been re-shuffled. I am taking control back from the gunk, and I'm handing it back over to the Lord. I reset the security system of my life, and I'm not letting that robber steal my joy again.