Good morning y’all! How has your week been? Has God been teaching you anything specific lately? Firecracker Heart was born out of the desire to create a community so I absolutely love when I hear from y’all. If you feel led, please leave a comment or shoot me an email so I can celebrate with you, or cry, or pray, or laugh.
I hope last week’s post was an encouragement to you! If you haven’t read it yet you can find it here. At my sweet momma’s suggestion, I’d love to continue that conversation. Now that we understand God’s purpose in creating seasons for our lives, how do we find contentment? How do we exercise joy when we find ourselves in a difficult situation? Or when the details just aren’t how we want them?
I’ve actually been struggling with this a lot this summer. I’m working my dream job: a counselor at a camp that glorifies God. I’ve wanted to work as a counselor since I was in middle school. And it’s absolutely beautiful. I love getting to share Jesus with 13 and 14 year olds everyday. I love getting to hold them when they cry or dance with them and laugh until our sides ache. In so many ways, it is the perfect job. I should be content right?
Somewhere in the quiet moments, I find myself feeling frustrated, impatient, and not joyful at all. Because sometimes I’m hot or tired or stressed out. Being a mom to 12 girls each week is actually rather difficult. In my sin, I forget to rejoice that I get to talk to twelve precious souls. I forget to rejoice in the warm sun. I forget to rejoice in waking up early (to have a quiet time with a sweet girl!). Honestly, I just forget to rejoice.
I started wondering, do I just feel this way at camp? Or do I feel this way all the time? I honestly think I have fallen in this way for much longer than I realized. Running around with my kiddos has just exposed it.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 says, “Now there is great gain in godliness and contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”
I always have food. I am clothed. But my selfish soul grasps for more. It isn’t satisfied with enough it wants more. It says, “me first.” It grumbles and complains without reason.
God has given us grace. He has given us mercy. He grants comfort. He gives joy. How could I ask for more?
We, like little kids, want our own way so badly. We want to control each situation to fit each preference we have. Even when things are good and easy, we can always find something to complain about. Why do we do that? We lack the contentment that Paul speaks of in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Paul faced prison, ridicule, persecution, and immense pain and he rejoices. He is glad in that! He understood that in Christ, we have all we need. We talked about Lamentations 3 last week. The end of verse 24 says, “The Lord is my portion….” The Lord is all we need. He is enough in each moment.
In a painful situation, in the new, when we lose who we love, when we feel frustrated or alone, when life is stale, when life is good, when money abounds or there is none, in joy, in tears, in all situations He is enough.
My friends, remember that there is joy in every day. I know some of you are walking through painful times. When all we know is stripped away and we feel the most alone? There is joy. Psalm 30:5b says, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Joy is not happiness. Happiness may come and go depending on your circumstances. But joy? Joy is a state of being. It is a state that rejoices in the Lord no matter what happens to you. It is constant. It is Spirit-given. It is holy and glorifies God.
We talked about Ecclesiastes 3 last week as well. The beginning of the chapter talks about the need for seasons. Good, bad, and everything in-between. Later in verses 12-13, Solomon says something profound, “I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.”
Often times our days are mundane. The high and low seasons come slowly and drift together. However, in every and all circumstances, in the day to day, in washing the dishes, in picking your kids up from school, in speaking to your friends or spouse, in the normal, we are to rejoice.
Maybe you aren’t happy at the moment. Life may have taken a turn and God might have called you to a place you very much don’t want to be. I understand your pain there my dear friend. I understand that it isn’t easy and that you so desire a change. But take a moment. Stop and cry out to the Lord. Praise Him for the breath in your lungs, the clothes on your back, the beautiful day outside. There’s joy even in pain.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “But he (the Lord) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, for the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Let that verse be your anthem. I would encourage you to post these verses up where you will see them daily. Write them on your heart. Wake up and pray them over your life. Only God can change us. Pray for that change sweet friends. Ask the Lord to give you gratitude in your lives. Gratitude births joy. Paul was joyful even when sitting in a prison. What a wonderful thing! Know that I am praying with you! We can walk through the struggles together.