What’s your perspective on life? Are you feeling down? Steph reminds us that our source of joy is the Lord.
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For the past little while I’ve been in a funk. Actually, it has been borderline depression. I have felt exhausted and have slept far more than I normally do. I have lacked ambition in the evening and have neglected a number of my responsibilities. Not good.
To compound all that, I’ve been feeling guilty for allowing negativity to get the best of me—especially when I consider what those around me are dealing with.
I’ve been considering leaving my job as church administrator. I’d like to say it’s because the Lord has been leading me to do so or because I have a solid game plan to earn enough with my writing, editing, and doula services. But, truth be told, it’s more about external pressures and knowing how to best prioritize my efforts.
And then I think of my hubby who has faithfully persisted in his “temporary” job for over 30 years. He would have far rather had a fulltime music ministry, but the Lord never opened those doors.
I also think of a good friend who has stayed at a job for decades that has caused her increasing stress. And now that the company is downsizing and restructuring, she’s not sure what the future holds.
There are many studies on the effects of stress on the human body. I was head-achy for a couple of days and noticed more tightness in my neck and shoulders.
As the psalmist said in Psalm 139:14,
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (ESV).
These physical symptoms aren’t fun, but they bear no resemblance to what others are coping with. I think in particular of a family member who is dealing with throat cancer. She is not doing well after her second round of chemo and is unable to take care of her young daughter, who is staying with her grandparents for who knows how long. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would cope in similar circumstances.
Joy in the Lord?
I have seen many who truly rejoice in the Lord despite their physical condition. I’m fairly certain that would be a steep learning curve for me. For the last few days, I’ve felt zapped of my joy and positive attitude. Because they’ve been so much a part of who I am, it has felt like I’m losing touch with myself.
And then I consider those who—humanly speaking at least—have virtually no reason to be happy. Conversely, if I sat down and made a list my blessings, I would be at the computer for hours.
I’ve come to question whether I really do find my joy in the Lord or if it’s about my circumstances and state of mind. I’ve also recognized some inclinations I thought I’d outgrown. Why yes, I was a bratty little kid. I definitely don’t want to revert to the way I was way back when.
Look to the Lord – Get a Right Perspective
Well, enough of that. However, if you’ve been feeling deflated recently, I want to encourage you. You are definitely not alone. We don’t have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, as the saying goes. Instead, we must look to the Lord. We must take Him at His Word. And we must not spend so much time “in our head,” revisiting things people have said and done and what they may think of us.
These are some of the scripture verses I’ve been focusing on lately:
Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (ESV).
Second Corinthians 10:5 says, “Take every thought captive to obey Christ” (ESV).
Philippians 4:4-8 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).
And as far as discovering what changes we should make in our lives, I think of James 1:5, which says,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (ESV).
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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Images Courtesy Of:
Joyful woman – alfcermed
Lonely woman – cocoparisienne
Pilates – Keifit
Happy people – rawpixel