I have been feeling an outrageous amount of joy this week. It has been a little overwhelming. It’s not just because I’m not working anymore and can enjoy this awesome, unexpected VACATION, it’s obviously and directly straight from God.
The thing is, just a few days ago, I was not in such a great place. In fact, on Saturday, I was crying at the drop of a hat. I felt incredibly vulnerable, sensitive, and anxious, and I couldn’t pinpoint why. Until I had a 15-minute dinner with a very perceptive friend. “Hm, it sounds like something is trying to steal your joy,” she said in between bites of seaweed-wrapped rice.
“I’ve always seen that joy is your strength, Elizabeth. It’s obvious.”
Tears running down my face.
At that point, the tears were sad tears, because I felt how far away I was from where I was meant to be. I remembered the numerous times God has spoken JOY over me and told me that JOY is my portion, that I am destined for JOY, that JOY is the key weapon in my arsenal. But I couldn’t remember how to be optimistic or positive or hopeful or carefree. I felt deflated and weak.
“These heavy burdens aren’t meant for you, Elizabeth. God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light. Whatever burdens feel heavy, you aren’t supposed to carry.”
CLICK. Suddenly everything made sense. Suddenly more tears were flowing, but this time good ones. She had hit the nail on the head.
I’ve been wrestling with God the past several weeks. Wrestling to accept God’s offer to take care of all my needs. I am on the brink of big life transition, and I feel like taking care of all that transition entails is my responsibility. It should be. And it’s a heavy burden, a scary one. But to let God just take care of it all? Sometimes that just feels wrong. I feel like I’m supposed to earn things, work hard for things, not get them for free.
Isn’t that a saying? There’s no free lunch?
God: Don’t worry, you’re going to work plenty hard. I have plenty of Kingdom work for you to do. But as for your needs, let Me take care of those.
Me: But don’t you know that I have a tendency to be lazy? I’m pretty sure I’m being lazy right now.
God: It’s not laziness if you are looking to Me and putting your trust in Me. Don’t worry, I will tell you when it’s time to take action.
I suddenly realized how guilty and discouraged I had been feeling. Guilty for getting things for free. Discouraged because I was trying to earn everything and had no idea what I was doing.
"Don't be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom."
That night, God broke me free from that guilt and discouragement.
God showed me how much He truly enjoys taking care of me. How much He enjoys being the strong one. How much He enjoys protecting me and providing for me. God gave me a picture of a boxer who goes into a ring: strong, tough, persistent, unafraid. God is not asking me to go into the ring; instead He goes into the ring on my behalf. He fights for me, stands up for me, guards my reputation, and carries all the heavy things for me.
God enjoys doing all that, and He gets all the glory for it.
The source of my JOY is not the knowledge that I am strong enough to handle the difficulties (I’m actually not, that’s why I need God) or the assurance that I have worked hard enough and done the right things to earn the blessings coming my way (that attitude of entitlement would actually be quite dangerous). My JOY stems from the knowledge that God loves me and from the wonder of being taken care of by Him.
At the end of the day, God says there is no shame for me, no condemnation. Sometimes rebuke, perhaps discipline, but never shame. His Son paid for that. At the beginning of every day, God says His eyes of love are on me. Not because I’ve earned that love, but simply because I am His daughter. Parents love their children just because. It’s a wonder, a beautiful mystery, and a profoundly joyful truth.
You are in a good place, and I’ve got the destination taken care of. So why don’t you just take my hand? Let’s enjoy this ride together.