For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning. -Psalm 30:5
I love this verse. It’s one of those “coffee cup” verses, if you will, but there is a reason it’s “cliche.” I hate that bible verses can even be labeled as “cliche”, because they wouldn’t be considered so if people didn’t use them inappropriately, out of context, or toss them around without any heart or meaning behind them. But, y’all, this verse is huge. It’s the epitome of what joy and grace is. The Message version, which is a paraphrase of the Bible, says it like this:
“All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.”
Mornings in general are my favorite thing in the world. It’s my favorite time of day, because I get to set my goals for the day, pray, and choose to either make it a good day or a bad day. And, if I don’t get my full morning routine… my whole day is completely off. I know some of you right now are thinking, “ew, you’re one of those”- but stick with me! 😉
But seriously, mornings are the best and this verse even says so! Joy comes in the morning, even when the night is dark, even when we cry our eyes out, God shows up. He is there in the darkness, and the best news ever is that MORNING ALWAYS COMES. We get to rejoice in the truth that, as Christians, we can make mistakes, fall short (hello, this happens daily), and do things that hurt God’s heart, but he never leaves or forsakes us. We get to laugh at the days ahead, even in our hurt and humanity, because of how good God is. CAN I GET AN AMEN.
Joy is a choice. It’s always accessible to you, but you have to grab it to have. Joy is easy to access when we realize it’s there, but it’s also just as easy to forget about. And, unfortunately, this is something we know all too well. I am so quick to forget how good my God is. I get so hyper focused on where I am failing, or falling short, or not living up to my expectations, or not as in shape as I want to be no matter how hard I try for that 6 pack, or I don’t have all the shoes I want because of that budget life… y’all the list continues… but God tells me I am perfect as is. That this world is but a breath, and it will pass. So, with that, don’t you think that whatever it is you’re going through shall pass, too?
I am always embarrassed when I get asked how I am so “happy” all the time, because I feel like it’s a slight at telling me I am that obnoxious person who is TOO happy. But, in all seriousness I am also shocked when people ask me this, because I know the inner workings of my heart. When my mind speaks louder than my heart, when emotions take hold of my thoughts, they tell me life is a raging storm, that I am a mess, that I am mediocre at everything I do… just being real here for y’all. But, because I am marked by the joy of Christ, even in my messiness, even in the dark inner workings of my heart… God makes himself known. If that’s not a testament to how much bigger God is than all we face, and how he can use ANYBODY to spread his message… then I don’t know what will. I am a frazzled, frantic, anxious mess way more than I would like to admit… but God makes himself known NOT because I am the bomb. Definitely not. But, it’s because I am chosen, his daughter, and he says to me “Hannah, even when you mess up, even when you let anxiety speak louder than what you know to be true, I love you. I use you for MY works and for MY glory.”
I am so underserving of God’s grace. I feel like at this point he sitting up there shaking his head saying, “Really? You’re freaking out again? You’re questioning your worth… again? Wasn’t it enough I sent Jesus to prove how much you are worth?” BOOM. Ouch. Y’all, anxiety is my biggest struggle. I never thought I would have to say that… like, ever. It just happens, and if you’ve ever struggled with anxiety you can cope with me when I say that no matter how much you try to rationalize it or make it better… there’s not a whole lot you can do. But pray. And I have never felt closer to the Lord because of it. Even in my brokenness, he makes me whole. Because I strive for joy, not even nailing it but merely striving for it, He says “you are equipped and able to do my works.”
Choosing joy won’t happen easily sometimes. That doesn’t make you a bad Christian or a bad person, haha. It’s pretty normal, because we are human and we are bent to run from God. But don’t run, y’all. Every time you fall, run right back to the start. I cannot express how deeply God loves you and how much better it is to rest in knowing he is in control.
How to Find Joy
Live a prayerful life. The more you pray, the easier it is to see Christ in all things.
Be thankful. Thank him to his face, Psalms said! Be sure to recognize the things you DO have and thank him for it.
Find quiet space in your day. (I am the worst at this!) Be still, read, turn things off for at least 15 minutes. Do whatever it takes to have moments of rest and peace. No tv. No emails. Nothing.
Read your Bible. Guys, if reading the bible is a struggle for you, consider reading The Message version alongside your translation. Sometimes I just read The Message for encouragement. Like I mentioned above, it’s a paraphrase of the Bible, so it’s not the original text, but it’s translated by someone who captured the heart of the wording in the original text and it’s easier to digest.
Don’t compare. It’s so much easier said than done, but it’s true when it is said that comparison is the greatest thief of joy. This goes back to having a grateful heart.
Know what works for you…. let me elaborate. So, I know that I am a home body. I love to be home, I love being curled up with my dog and a book, some cozy sweatpants, and the same movie I watch 10 times a week way more than going out. Now, this can get me in trouble, because I could literally do this every day of my life and be content, but God calls us to live in community. So, it won’t be fully satisfying. BUT, I say this because I know that if I try to live a “yes” life that I go hang out with people all the time, go to every event I am invited to, or WHATEVER it might be, then not only will it not last long but it will end badly. I will burn out and I know all too well that lifestyle isn’t for me. And, I have to be OKAY with that.
I love y’all so much. You are seen, heard, and loved so much more by God. I hope you hear that and own it.