This morning it was really tough for me to get up and out of bed. I was not in a good place. As I struggled to fight back the tears and roll over, pulling the covers over my head, I decided that I needed to reach out. Usually, I can open my Bible or my daily devotion and get my mind right pretty easily and quickly. I knew I needed help today. So, I text a friend...a reliable friend who I knew would set me right. And sure enough, she did.
After I rolled out of bed, got myself dressed and started my day, I realized how easy it is to let evil grab hold of us. It's easy to sink into a dark place if you're not careful to protect your mind. I was in fear. And what I know is that love and fear cannot co-exist. Fear drives out love...but..."perfect love expels all fear" (1 John 4:18)
Everyday we make a choice...not just once, but several times a day, all day long...to choose joy & love or fear. We have to take control of our mind or it will just run rampant with negative, non-productive and sometimes downright dark thoughts. And sadly, most of the world lives choosing these thoughts of fear. I know: I, too, used to be consumed with fear. My anxiety was due to fear and worry and stress. It got so bad I was having several panic attacks everyday and even during the night, making sleep next to impossible.
Even when our circumstances haven't changed and life is really hard, we can CHOOSE to live in love and joy. If we attach our joy to things and people and events that we have no control over, we will never have joy and we will never be happy. Everything in my life got stripped away...my business, my money, my dreams, my alone time, some of my friends. I know what it is like to live with nothing. I also know what it feels like to have nothing but feel like you have everything. I have more love and joy in my life than I ever could have dreamed possible and my circumstances haven't really changed very much. My kiddos and I are still in a really challenging time. But I made a different choice. And everyday I have to consciously make that choice again.
Joy is not something earned or achieved. Joy is something you choose, everyday, all day long.