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I Take Joy

April 8, 2008

“I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart” (Psalm 40:8).

Me – yesterday:

To my daughter: “One. Two. THREE. FOUR!! FIVE, LUCY!!! LUCY!!”

To my husband: “Shut up. Just SHUT UP!” (This was about fifteen minutes before our Mom’s Group. Sometimes I feel like I am looking at myself from the outside and I can’t believe me. I mean, THIS is a life characterized by the Holy Spirit. God help me.)

To my best friend: “Look, I know I am being grumpy with you. I don’t know what is wrong with me.”

This morning I cried out to God to please forgive me. “Lord, I am really sorry for how I treated everyone yesterday. I need your forgiveness. Show me how to do it differently today.”

God started talking to me about the biggest source of my frustration: my children’s behavior. I have been away for a few days, and I expected to come back renewed and excited to be around my precious kids.

I didn’t think about the fact that they spent three days with my in-laws – going to bed late, being constantly entertained, and having all rules and structure thrown out the window. When I found myself repeating instructions and dealing with a lot of behavior issues, I became more and more upset as the day went on.

Ending with my mini-meltdown.

Ending also with my “am I really equipped at all for parenting?” moment.

This morning as I began to pray, I realized I am disobeying God. He has given me very specific instructions for my children right now, and I have not been following them.

Psalms 40:8 says that, “I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” God writes instructions on my heart, so why have I not followed through?

I often think about joy as the feeling I get when I am alone with the Lord, focusing on Him and reading His Word. I also feel joy when I am worshiping at church or praying with my friends. Those are times of clear joy, and it is easy to sense the Presence of the Holy Spirit in those moments.

But the Psalmist says that he takes joy in doing God’s will.

His joy is available to me at all times – not just the moments of quiet reflection. If God has told me to parent my three-year-old a certain way, and I obey – then there will be joy. If God tells me to quickly repent to someone, even if it hard, I will be joyful. If the Lord speaks about reprioritizing some things in my life, even if I don’t want to, but I obey Him – then I can have His joy regardless of the situation.

I want to break open joy all over my life. To shake out the joy of Jesus liberally over every area of my life, not just in my prayer chair or at church. I am going to start praying this verse. I want it to be true of me that “I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”

God, this truly is my cry today. I want to take joy in doing your will in every area of my life, God. In every relationship and in every situation. I pray, Holy Spirit, that you would fill me with a hunger and a desire for wisdom and instruction – something I don’t ask for much. But I want to start. I need you, God. Every single day. I am so dependent on you. I love you. Amen.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2008 11:13 pm

    Hey Jess,
    I have a melt-down after every triumph. Or sweet time with God. It feels like it takes months to climb up to a mountaintop experience with Him and about 15 minutes to slide down and crash. There is something to learn from all of it though, that is a good reminder for me.

  2. April 9, 2008 9:49 am

    It’s good to know that yesterday I wasn’t the only one having meltdowns and yelling at my kid. Your heart reflects mine…I just want to be joyful in everything and do God’s will, but some days I just have the hardest stinkin’ time doing it. Praise God that His mercies are new everyday and His love never ends. *HUG*

  3. April 11, 2008 7:59 pm

    hmmm… if I obey God I will have joy… sigh. another confirmation that I need to follow God’s leading to start working on some new stuff… see my most recent post…
    I am not looking forward to it, and don’t feel joy about it at all right now. maybe at the end of all the work… i hope.
    Thank you for your encouragement!
    God bless,

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