Nehemiah 8:10 says, “…the JOY of the Lord is my strength.” I remember the day I received a revelation about that scripture, but prior to that day, whoever wrote that verse in the good book was speaking Greek to me! I used to wonder how, I, as an ordinary somebody would be able to reach God to have His joy, and from that joy, obtain strength. It just didn’t make any sense to my natural mind. How exactly does that work?
I could see how that grandmother who lived thru slavery, Jim Crow, the Emancipation Proclamation and then receiving the right to vote would have joy. I could see how that pastor who labored for God’s sheep daily, and then began to see blessings manifest in their lives had joy. I could even see how that child with dreams of becoming a famous singer finally made it to celebrity status would have joy. I could see how that single mother who worked hard to get her degree, finally landing her dream job, and was still strong enough to remain standing during life’s storms had joy, but I didn’t understand how I was able to have that joy. I wasn’t happy, and everything I looked to as fulfilling my joy was gone, or diminishing, and would soon be gone. I felt like I was captive, in an emotional and physical prison. I was broken inside, emotionally, and I was physically in a place I didn’t want to be in; and I was torn as to what I should do about it. Life was just way too much for me! I needed to reach that joy Nehemiah talked about so that I could gain some much-needed strength!
I remember crying myself to sleep every night. At first I cried because that’s all I knew to do to ease the pain I was experiencing. Then, I reached a point where crying became therapeutic for me; I felt a slight healing effect was taking place as I cried. I knew a healing was taking place because each morning, I would feel a little better, emotionally, than I did the day before. Looking back now, I realize I was mourning…my own death…the death of the ME I used to be, that I no longer was, or would ever be. Everything I knew as my life was slowly being stripped away from me, and all access roads to going back to what I had grown comfortable with were closed! All I had was God. I remember the day I told God I was tired of crying and I needed a breakthrough on every level in my life. The next day when I awoke, before getting out of bed, I had a vision. I was sitting on the beach and my head was in a pile of ash that was directly in front of me. As I lifted my head from the pile, my face was covered with the ash. All of a sudden, a hand with a white cloth on it began wiping my face clean. I remember looking at the cloth after each wipe, and it would still be white. After a few seconds, my face was so clean! My complexion was so clear, it was so bright, and my skin looked so smooth; it was as if God himself said, “That’s enough. You’ve cried long enough and I’m releasing a joy for you now.” Later on that day, I remember reading Psalm 30:11, “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with Joy,” there was my confirmation of what I had envisioned earlier that morning!
The “I” in ME wanted certain things for my life: a husband and family, happiness in my home life, a thriving career, and material possessions, just to name a few. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those desires, in fact I still desire them for my life, but at that period in my life, I could no longer live in those particular circumstances, because they no longer fit me. As a result, I put on stress, hurts, abuse, rejections, and low self-esteem. During that time though, I still didn’t understand fully what was happening to me. All I could think about was what the bible says in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” It was through prayer that God revealed to me why I went through those things during that period of my life, and why life as I had known it, was all being stripped away from me. I know that nothing I have experienced in my life, was an accident, coincidence, or mistake; instead all of my experiences were designed to prepare me for my destiny and to help me fulfill my purpose in life. Just as a child grows daily, and the clothes they were able to wear a year ago no longer fit them, and new clothes, in a larger size have to be purchased in order for them to fit properly; the same happens in our own personal and spiritual lives. As I began to outgrow that which I used to fit in, God began to remove it, and I went through growing pains, and then I began to mourn that which I got so accustomed to as my life.
After God removed the sackcloth, He fitted me with peace, wholeness, protection, acceptance, a positive self-image and a healthy self-esteem. I never viewed that period of my life as being stripped away from me anymore; I saw it for what it was: an awakening of my purpose in life. I learned that my JOY was personal and I could feel it at any moment, and that it was a permanent part of me…my “J” spot. I realized I was relying on people, places, and things to supply my happiness and when I no longer had them, I felt sad and broken. I discovered there was a difference between happiness and joy, and I made up in my mind that I would no longer allow outside influences to control either one.
As I nourished my “J” spot thru positive vibrations from people-family and friends, environments and influences, I noticed that I was getting stronger and stronger each day. I was also aware that I was telling the universe, “I now have joy…so bring me joy. “ I began to feel joy every day, some days to the point where I would wake up and ask myself, “why am I so happy?”, and I wasn’t questioning it because I didn’t want it, I was questioning it because it felt so good to have it!
I pray you awaken to your purpose in life, learn about your “J” spot and how to strengthen it, discover the difference between happiness and joy, and thrive daily in your life of JOY! Amen, Amen, and Amen.
Often times we hear scriptures so much and we know them verbatim, but they mean absolutely nothing to us until we go thru an experience that causes us to feel them. How has Psalm 37:4 and Nehemiah 8:10 touched your life? Share your experiences with me…I would love to hear them!
Bless YOU, and Love & Peace to YOU!