Today has been a long day.
And one not yet over…
Because quite frankly, with only 6 working days left in the office… I am running out of time!
Yep. Part of me feels like there's some kind of metaphorical glowing timer on my desk which is ominously reminding me that… Time. Is. Ticking. By. Fast.
People keep greeting me with the now-famous words of, 'Before you leave, could you just… (Insert favour of choice here…)?
And so today I interviewed back to back for 5 hours to appoint two new project workers, dashed to a pretty-long meeting about topics that wouldn't make for an interesting blog, finished a tender, drank at least 12 cups of tea, and wrote a to-do list for tomorrow which might be taller than I am… (Ok, I know that I'm short so that's not so impressive… ;))
But the thing is… In the midst of all the… Stuff. I've been really aware of the peace and joy and hand of God holding me so close. In the seeming-chaos of my desk today… I've had an awareness of the Holy Spirit's Presence bringing calm and order to my mind and my heart.
And real joy.
I was praying last night, and just spending some time with God, thinking on Him, and about the Word and about His promises. And I was so overcome with thankfulness. And so full of joy.
I've really felt that these last few days.
Joy I can't really explain. Joy that rises up and makes me want to sing. Or dance. And just worship. Real, deep, joy.
It's a different season with a different lesson, this one that God is bringing me into.
Because the last few months have been tough. Don't get me wrong, there have been great times within them, but it's been a tough season. And these last few years? They've been tough. Don't get me wrong, there have been great times within them, but it's been a tough season.
You know? What it's like when it's a bit of a wilderness season? Or maybe a full on desert season? Or an 'I-feel-totally-abandoned-by-God' season. In my moments of strength, I've had to press through in worship to find joy. I've sat at my piano and sung praises, knowing that as I did, the garment of praise would lift the sorrow. In my moments of weakness, I've allowed circumstance or the opinion of man to rob me of joy. I've allowed the words spoken over me or the actions done to me to shout louder than the truth of God. I've allowed my own condemnation or feelings of failure to overwhelm the reality of Holy Spirit's healing and plan for a future.
I've battled. And always, God has won. He has clung onto me, and held my heart in his healing embrace. But it's been a battle. That sometimes has felt of seemingly-epic proportions.
Which is why… I know God, and God alone can be so praised for bringing such joy.
Because this isn't a joy dependant on circumstance. Or a joy dependant on another person. Or a joy dependant on God answering prayer. Or a joy dependant on me getting what I want when I want. Or a joy dependant on what other people think of me.
This is a deeper joy. A more real joy. A joy that is free from the constraints that I normally war against in my human emotion and heart response.
So often we feel happy when we get our own way. Or happy based on someone giving us a compliment. Or happy because another person has made us feel secure. Or happy because our ego has had a boost. But all of that happiness can be swayed by the external or internal changes. We make a mistake. We have a bad hair day. Someone is horrible to us. Something makes us feel insecure. A crisis hits.
And we are suddenly totally robbed of internal joy.
But a free joy, is a joy that is found in God. A contentment that isn't based on the external reality or the internal battle… I think that is the fruit of the Spirit that God wants to call forth in us.
Because then maybe, we'll start to get a real heart understanding of what Paul's talking about in Philippians 4.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
That's my prayer. For me. For you.
Because the reality is that God makes me so happy. Holy Spirit makes me laugh. Jesus has found me and grabbed a hold of me.
And I am thankful for joy.
Oh, and if you'd like to pray for my productivity this week… I would so love you forever! 🙂 This is a snapshot of my desk right now… (Bearing in mind I'm a neat freak…)