Living in joy

Sometimes I think I’ve learned lessons.  I really, truly think I have them down.  And then life has a way of doing its thing and leaving me in a similar situation once again.  I then realize I’m still working on the same lesson.  Last summer, I told you how I was struggling to just relax and enjoy good news.  Then God showed up and reminded me that I can trust Him.

Eerily, almost exactly a year later, the same thing happened.  We’d gotten some good news about which I was excited, but being the kind of person I am I almost immediately started warning myself to wait for the bad news to come with it.  I started thinking about all sorts of worst case scenarios.  My focus was very quickly shifting to anxiety and fear more than joy and thanksgiving for good news.  On the way to church this past Sunday, I was quiet in my thoughts, thinking of all the bad things that could happen.  It wasn’t the best point in which to approach worship, I suppose.  But, God worked through it.  I caught myself and my line of thinking and prayed for help to get past it.

After we dropped the kiddo in the toddler room, my husband and I chatted in the pew while waiting for service to start.  I told him that I was really struggling to just be happy and not be anxious.  I told him I’d just been praying that morning for God to help me let it all go and trust in Him and just enjoy life.  My husband, being the kind and patient man that he is, encouraged me to do this yet again.  I asked him to help keep me accountable and pray about this with me.

That alone started me feeling better.  Sometimes I can get very caught up inside my head.  I’ve heard this is often a characteristic of introverts, of which I definitely am.  I certainly can get wrapped up in my own thoughts.  That’s not such a bad thing unless they are worries and fears beyond my control (and pretty much everything is beyond my control).  I have struggled with anxiety in the past.  I have lived in a constant state of fear and worry.  It was miserable, and it’s not something I want to return.  This is why I brought it up to my husband.  I have also realized that saying my very fears and worries out loud makes them so much smaller.  In my head they become distorted and larger than life.  Once they are out of my mouth, shared with a trusted companion (usually my husband), then I see them more clearly and more true-to-size.

This was my frame of mind when the service started.  I was still struggling to get past my anxiety.  I’d already prayed about it.  I’d mentioned it to my husband and was feeling better.  Then the worship songs started.  I wish I could tell you exactly what song we sang first, but I can’t remember it right now.  I just know that as I was singing, God showed up yet again.  Even more than my husband, He is patient.  He knows me inside and out.  He knows my inner thoughts, my craziness, my fears, my worries.  And He reminded me, as He has so many times before, to trust Him and just let go.  I don’t have to live in fear and worry.  I don’t have to leave with anxiety and doubt.  I can live in joy, peace and contentment because God is always there.  He is ever faithful.  He gives good things to me not for me to worry about how they can go wrong but for me to just enjoy and embrace and be happy about.  It’s OK to be happy.  It really is.  Sometimes I think I get caught up thinking that I’m too grown up to just relax and be happy.  I don’t have the careless abandon of a child, but I can have that in God.  I really, truly can if I just let go.

I thank God that I don’t have to leave in a state of fear and anxiety but that I can live in joy, peace and hope through Him.  If that’s not something to rejoice about, I don’t know what is!

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