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The Fight for Joy

Obviously my time has been filled with things other than blogging recently. The IDEAS are here, it’s the motivation and energy that’s been lacking. So here’s what I’ve got for you today.

My evening devotions the other night talked about fighting for joy. To be honest, I was taken off guard. I feel like this really shouldn’t be a new concept but it was for me. I have always been such an upbeat, cheerful, and content (mostly lol) person that I didn’t have to work at it much. I mean it. Optimism and joy was just naturally part of me. My best friend has told me that I used to be obnoxiously cheerful. Which was her (kind) way of saying I lacked compassion. 🙂

But recently I’ve been having trouble finding joy. I KNOW how blessed I am and I KNOW that thankfulness is the key to having joy but the days keep dragging on and my joy is missing. I’ve read the verses and I’ve prayed over and over about it, asking God to give me back my joy in him.

And I think that’s why this devotion hit me so hard. Joy has always been easy, a part of me, something God provides. I have NEVER considered fighting for it. I’ve never thought that joy was really a choice in my life. It was just something God gave me and I wanted it back.

I love this definition of joy by John MacArthur:

“Christian joy is the emotion springing from the deep-down confidence of the Christian that God is in complete and perfect control of everything, and will bring from it our good in time, and our glory in eternity. That’s Christian joy. Christian joy is not an emotion on top of an emotion. It is not a feeling on top of a feeling. It is a feeling on top of a fact. It is an emotional response to what I know to be true about my God.

I love that. So when I drag myself out of bed every morning, weary before the day starts, I don’t feel very joyful. But I know what is true about my God. I know how much he loves me, I know he is faithful to his promises, I know he cares for my whole being, I know he is good, I know he never changes. And in THOSE things, I can find joy. You can too, friend.

It really is a battle, and I’m aware and ready for it now.

“If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”
Psalm 94:17-19

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2018 in contentment, joy

 

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What I Wish the Church Knew About Singles

Disclaimer: Everything you are about to read is going to be highly biased. I’m not kidding myself- I know that very well. I know that I’m basing all of this on my own experiences and on the experiences of others in my church. Your experience may be totally and completely different. Feel free to dump my opinion in the garbage if you don’t think it’s true. 🙂 Also there has been such a long break between posts because of how much thinking and praying went into this post.

My family would probably call me a sneaky or snoopy person. I prefer the word observant. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had the ability to somehow…um…gain information that no one else had. For instance, Mom and Dad would be planning a secret family vacation and somehow, I would be the only kid who would knew where we were going. Accused often of eavesdropping (probably true), I like to think that I just happened to overhear things that no one else did. On top of that, I love to people watch. Sit me in a coffee shop and I’m a creeper- extraordinaire. I watch what people do, but more than that, I watch their facial and body expressions. Yup, creepy, right?

So over the last few years, I have gained some knowledge in the area of singles in the church. Not only by being one, but by watching others. And I’m here to share that knowledge with you all. This is not a desperate cry for HELP! nor is it a guilt trip for the church. I’m not trying to sound petty or sarcastic, although it may come across that way at times. Please take it as a friendly post from a friendly person. Here goes:

  1.  Singles are not scary human beings. This may seem like an odd thing to say but I have a reason. I think it’s pretty “stereotypical” for singles to complain about being left out of things at church. I also think that hospitality is one of the least taught on commands in Scripture. Let me say this: It is VERY rare for a single person to get an invitation to a family’s house for dinner. I think people feel awkward inviting just one person over. But several times I have seen it happen that as soon as there’s a couple, it’s easier for others to invite them. But the Bible commands hospitality to all, even strangers. Not just those you are comfortable with.
  2. Singles LOVE kids! This is along the lines of the last one. Most of the singles I know in my church love to be around kids. I asked for advice when writing this post and my best friend said that even to be invited over to a family’s house with the parent’s still there (AKA, not always to babysit) and just to hang out with the family. She mentioned reading stories to the kids and playing with them. Just being a part of the family.
  3. We are busy people too. This one might get a lot of “but, but, buts” coming from people. I’m saying it with a grain of salt so take it that way. Listen, we ALL have the same 24 hours in our day and we ALL choose what to do with those hours. After work, singles can choose whether they will stay home and watch Netflix, just like parents can choose how many sports their kids will participate in. Sometimes there is an assumption that if you are single, then you MUST have an abundance of extra time on your hands and you absolutely must be using that to serve or you don’t love Jesus. Now there is some truth that we don’t have a family and kids to take care of but there are singles I know that are some of the busiest people and it IS with serving! Yet they are always expected to do more because they are single.
  4. Singles are adults. I hear a lot of unhelpful/untrue statements from married people. Things like, “It’s such a shame that some guy hasn’t snatched you up yet” or “You’re going to make a wonderful wife” or “God has the right guy out there for you.” These statements give us the idea that singleness is just a transition state and actually lend towards discontentment. Also, you do not know whether a person will get married or not. It’s not up to you! Please leave the matchmaking to God and treat singles as full adults, instead of something hanging in between teens and married adults.
  5. Singles know we don’t know everything. After reading this post, you may be thinking, “You sure don’t!” Haha that’s ok. I know it. I’m thinking of one area in particular. A lot of times when you hear singles talk about marriage, if a married person is around, you will almost surely hear them pipe up, “Hey! It’s not all it’s cracked up to be!” Or something along those lines. First off, thank you for making God’s covenant design look soooo appealing. -_- Secondly, we aren’t 12 anymore. We have real expectations of marriage. We don’t expect Disney marriages. We know that marriages happen between two sinners and there are bad days, months, even years. We know that there are dishes to do, toilets to clean, bills to pay. And that’s not even adding kids into it! We know that getting married is complicated. But think back to when you were single…did you desire to be married then? Please realize that YOU are our example of Christ’s union with the church and we need good examples. They are few and far between. Actually, my best friend and I tried to think of some really good marriages (knowing that it’s only what we see from the outside) that we would look at and say, “Yeah, I would want my marriage to look like that.” We thought for a looonngg time and barely came up with two out of all the couples we knew. Please remember that none of us know everything and we can all learn from each other.

If you made it this far, congrats and thank you. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time as I watch the singles I know and I observe my own heart. By God’s grace, I’m praying we all grow closer to each other as we get closer to Christ. Feel free to comment below with any thoughts you have.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2018 in church

 

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