Maintaining Joy in a Dark Place
Hey y’all!!! It’s been awhile and I hope you all are doing well :). Well I thought I’d share a few things that have been going on with me and give you some words of encouragement in the process. I want to start off with a question: Have you ever been in such a dark place, that it literally steals your energy, your faith, and your joy? I can imagine that most of you are replaying the tapes of some period/s in your life where your answer to this question, is “girl yes!” So can I just be honest and say I found myself feeling a myriad of emotions within the past months when it came to my current job, and just overall direction in life. Just a few months ago I found that I was barely making it, faking a smile and trying to hang in there, but when anything big enough to discourage, irritate, or ruffle my feathers would occur, the facade came crumbling down faster than a game of Jenga on an unstable surface. I was thinking to myself “I’m trying God, I’m really trying to have joy and not see this season of my life as a death sentence (dramatic much? lol) but it’s so hard!” I came to realize through prayer that I was not casting all of my cares on Him and I was not explicitly asking for peace and joy that comes only from Him. Now what I was asking was for Him to make it clear whether I was to stay or leave my current position, and I wanted to make it abundantly clear that I wanted His will to be done, above all else. I believe these petitions were important, however, they were not all I should have been praying over. Needless to say once I made a conscious decision to stop worrying and pray for peace like Philippians 4:6-7 tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the God of peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” I was literally able to handle every curve ball life threw at me. Through this new perspective God allowed me to see that this season is to build my character and endurance but even more importantly, I believe God was allowing me to see a part of what I’m going through isn’t about me at all, but it’s to draw others to Christ and if I can be transparent, I wasn’t! Think about it, how can you effectively draw others to Christ if you’re miserable yourself? I mean, let’s be honest, if you were an unbeliever and the so called believer on your job was always complaining and had no joy or hope to hang their hat on, why would you want to know more about their God? I think you’d probably figure “well we’re both in the same boat, so what good would their faith do for me?” I think it is important to remember what the bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” People should be able to look at us as Christians and ask “how can you remain so hopeful in this distressing and bleak situation?” To this question, we should be able to say “it’s because the Lord lives in me and gives me a peace that surpasses all understanding”. I once heard someone say “I always have hope because “God is with me, God is in me, and God is for me”. No matter what the situation may be, never lose sight of the fact that the Lord is right there with you through it ALL. Another verse that I think we should all look to is James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy. My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”. This verse tells us that we should be rejoicing in those dark times because they are signs that we are getting closer to building some rock solid faith, persistence, tenacity, and endurance; these are the attributes we all need to be an effective Christian and witness of Christ Jesus. So, I implore everyone out there who answered “yes” to my first question, to read and meditate on these scriptures and pray for peace in whatever your dark place may be. The light of God within you is bright enough to shine through any pit of darkness you could ever find yourself in and lead others to Christ at the same time (Matthew 5:16).
I want to leave off with one more thing… God knows how much you can take and just when to pull you up out of whatever you’re going through. After I truly began to cast every single care on to Him and to seek joy that absolutely no one could take away, God heard my cry. I was laid off that same job a couple of weeks ago and I know that was nothing but the favor of God. Some may think, how are you praising God for being laid off? I’ll tell you why, it’s because He knows me better than I know myself. I could not bear to leave without knowing it was His will for my life, so He caused His divine intervention to let me know “it’s okay” and my life is in His hands. So even though this is my third time being laid off, unlike before (refer to my very first post) I’m no longer saying “what now Lord?” but rather “speak Lord your servant is listening” and wherever you send me “I’ll go”.
I love y'all! Until next time, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.