There are just way too many nights that find me fried, frustrated, and happy to just hurry up and end the day. Usually that frazzled state of soul takes me by surprise — a quiet, peaceful, well-paced morning somehow just spirals slowly but surely, and suddenly I’m Mean Mama. Anybody? Just me?
It happens way too often. I’d reached Frazzled Status last night on our way out the door, and when I landed with three kids at church, I was strung tighter than a piano string. (I always think of that metaphor, because I can only imagine the damage one of those HUGE bass strings could inflict if it suddenly snapped. Not that me snapping ever does any damage. *wink*) Somehow, somewhere, my soul had a chance to take a deep breath, and the idea of joy came to mind. Joy. I want to be joyful. I have the best job in the world, you know? Why do I sometimes so lack joy?
Left to myself, I would rectify this situation in one of two ways:
— Berate myself for my lack of joy. Look at the three beautiful faces of my children, faces so quick to smile at me with twinkling eyes full of love, and say to myself, “What’s wrong with you? Get joy!” Wonder if they think I lack joy. Wonder if my husband thinks I lack joy. Wonder how terrible I am. Yup, I’m terrible. (Is this approach getting me any closer to joy?)
— Decide to be joyful. That’s it — from now on, I will be joyful. I will look for joy in my every day, because I know it’s there — it is! (Really! It is!) I just have to snap out of my Frazzled Status and see it, live in it, take it in, pour it out.
But there’s another conclusion. A better one. The error in my first approach is obvious. The error in the second is more subtle. See, joy is a fruit. Fruit is the result of the life of the Spirit. (We all know this, right? But maybe you have as much trouble living it as I often do.) I cannot bear fruit on my own. And when I get sidetracked with pursuing fruit, I end up frustrated and empty handed.
The answer is Jesus.
Instead of just looking for joy in my every day, I need to look for chances to say YES to the Holy Spirit. Yes, Holy Spirit, fill me, change me, be my source. Yes, I’ll meditate on Your Word, listen for Your voice, respond to Your guidance. Yes, I’ll sing a song of praise, put off heaviness, exalt You above this moment.
I want to be continually filled with the Spirit, continually looking at Jesus, continually experiencing the power of His salvation. Then there is joy. (And love, peace, patience, kindness…)
[from the archives]