The thief of hopes and dreams.
The deliverer of regret and setbacks,
And the opportunity for bitterness to grow.
But I want to see the good in you, to allow you to be turning point in my life, and become a better person because of you. To not be disheartened and allow the joy of life to pass me by!
After a recent bout of disappointments and challenges in my life, I began to think on what real joy is and how I find it, so I can learn how to not be so swayed by the circumstances of life and for them steal my joy.
So what is real joy?
Is it happiness, pleasure or simply being cheerful? To be honest I do not feel happy all the time, nor do I find pleasure if every event of life, most definitely not through the disappointment that so often finds me. And as for being ‘cheerful’ at all times, that is a challenge to say the least.
Some years ago I experienced a very dark time of depression, a time that I believe happened because I allowed the circumstances of my life to steal my joy. The changes in my life were very real, serious and life impacting, but as I focused more and more on them I was unable to see any positive around me. I could (and did) pretend to be happy and cheerful, but deep down I had no joy. This time soon caved in when I was faced with thoughts of taking my life.
Recovering from depression is hard. In fact it can be down right difficult and tiring. But from this I have learnt so much.
Disappointment so easily steals my joy! It works in me causing me to become bitter and focused on the negative. I can pretend to me happy, but I have no joy. I can function for a time, but ultimately I will crash, first emotionally then spiritually and physically. The key for me to not revisit depression is to learn to use disappointments to my advantage. To learn from them, see the good in them and allow them to make be better not bitter.
Paul explains in Philippians that he has learnt the secret of being content in any and every situation. (Philippians 4:12) Two words jump out at me in what he is saying: LEARNT and SECRET.
He learnt, which meant he put in effort and strength to develop this skill. He became well educated in being content. He became satisfied in his spirit that no matter what the situation, he would be settled and learn to relax in God’s provision, even through disappointment (After all he was writing this from his jail cell!)
His secret? I believe it was as Nehemiah said: “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 10) There it is again JOY! God’s joy is my strength. Paul learnt to develop God’s joy as his strength and because of this he was able to face anything before him therefore he was able to be content.
In mediating on this my declaration is:
I am going to see disappointment as a part of my appointment in life!
Using these experiences as a turning point, an opportunity to create change and my passage through the dark times. I do not want to miss the appointment that God has for me by being focused on disappointment.
No matter what our disappointment is, it is never too big for God to move over, through or work with. Your God appointment is greater!