During my drive to campus this morning, I felt the need to pray. (The car is one of my favorite locations to chat with God. I know I look like a crazy person who talks to herself, but it’s one of the only places where I can consistently find peace, quiet, and privacy.)
I fervently asked the Lord to restore my joy and fill me up with a happiness that could only be from above. Pour into me God, so that I may pour out to others!
After class, I looked down at my phone to see a text from my mom reading: “Don’t let anyone steal your joy!” And again, this afternoon, when I opened my devotional book, my eyes immediately drifted to that same line at the bottom of the page: “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.” This powerful little phrase is something my mom has said to me for years, and I honestly needed to hear it today. Obviously God knew that because He found a way to tell me twice! I love when the Lord catches my attention. It just really blows my mind.
Joy is a gift from our Heavenly Father, “In Your presence is abundant joy.” (Psalm 16:11) However, we have to decide to claim this gift in spite of our circumstances. Joy is a choice. Our joy can be so easily “stolen” through unfavorable situations and by negative people. I’m guilty of allowing these things to deplete me and leave me feeling anything but joyful. But we must remind ourselves that our happiness comes from God. People will disappoint us. Life will disappoint us. Jesus will not disappoint! Our Lord and Savior is constant, unchanging; He will never fail us. “Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.” (James 1:17) I know that even in my moments of weakness, I am strong because the joy of the Lord is my strength! (See 2 Cor. 12:10 & Neh. 8:10)
One of my absolute favorite verses is 1 Peter 8-9, “though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” Inexpressible and glorious. Wow, how powerful is that? When we choose to accept the incredible gift of salvation we are filled with a joy that is inexpressible, it cannot even be put into words!
So go out and choose joy, share it with others, and don’t let anyone steal it from you!