Choices have consequences. This promise reminds us that God gives us the ability and the freedom to choose between life and death and good and evil. The choice is ours.
Every choice has a consequence for good or not so good – and for killing joy or bringing joy too!
No one else is responsible for you. No one else is responsible for your life.
No one else is responsible for you loving God and loving others.
No one else is responsible for your heart. Is your heart forgiven and free or bound up and bitter?
No one else is responsible for your attitude. Is your attitude full of gratitude or filled with criticizing and complaining?
No one else is responsible for your joy. Joy is found in the person and presence of Jesus who never forsakes us and never leaves us. He sticks around when no one else can be found.
When we go looking for joy in other people, pleasures or possessions, we often find our joy tank is empty when people leave us, disappoint us or hurt us, when pleasures pass away, and when possessions fail to please or provide.
“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” C. S. Lewis
We all make choices that lead to consequences that are life giving, good for us and others, or choices that bring discouragement, disappointment, destruction and ultimately death. Every choice begins with a thought. Thoughts become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become a way of life – a lifestyle.
I am not always Joyful Jenny. Sometimes I am down with Debbie. I have to spend more time with Jesus on these days. It’s not a quick fix. Perhaps you relate?
Sometimes, instead of a praise dance party I have a pity pouting party and that leads to my “Joyful Jenny” name being hypocritical. Self pity always leads me away from the restoration of Joyful Jenny to digressing into the depressive “Debbie Downer” personality for sure.
We cannot be pitiful and joyful at the same time.
So, what do I do? Eventually, I make “Joyless Jenny” do the opposite of what I feel like doing. Yes, sometimes the not so Joyful Jenny spends a few hours, a few days or even longer as sulking Sally.
Here are a few things I do (not necessarily in the order listed):
I pray – not piously but honestly telling God how I feel – expressing my hurt, anger, sorrow and even my questioning. King David did this. Read the Psalms and you will see – he started out many of them negative and depressed before recalling God’s faithfulness and finally being moved to praise his heart out of all his sadness. Pray the promises – not the problems. God is already aware of all the problems, but He acts on His promises (Isaiah 55:11).
I focus on the beauty and wonder of God’s amazing creation around me. Sometimes I do this by taking a leisurely walk and sometimes I just rest outdoors (Psalm 46:10; Psalm 19:1).
I force myself to return to God’s promises in His Word (Psalm 130:5). I stir up my faith in expectation to see His promises fulfilled over all the negative or disappointing circumstances I might be presently experiencing. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) and Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Faith does not come by hearing ourselves recite all our problems and constantly recalling all our pain.
I play the promise filled praise music – especially when I don’t feel like hearing it. This is when I need it the most. God wants to replace our disheartened spirits of heaviness with a garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3). His presence inhabits our praises not our pouting and pre-occupation with all our pain and problems (Psalm 22:3).
I remind myself of all my blessings, and what is good in my life. I have to choose to focus on the goodness of our good, good Father, who is forever faithful and is always with us, when friends or family cannot be found and are not around (Nahum 1:7; Philippians 4:8; Matthew 28:20; Psalm 139:7-8).
Pray and share all your honest feelings with God. He already knows all and sees all.
Pray the promises not the problems. God acts on His promises not our whining and complaining. Return to the Word and find one.
Put on the praise music – especially when you don’t feel like hearing it or much less dancing to it.
Praise partying over pity partying.
Remind yourself of all God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Gratitude over grumbling.
Expect God even when a miracle is still unexpected by most (and even yourself at times). Ephesians 3:20-21
I hope Jenny’s not always so joyful honesty helps remind you today that God loves you and that His good choices and life giving consequences are always before you.
Un-Joyful Jenny has to preach and encourage her own self to choose life and joy in order to be the overcoming
“Joyful Jenny” God has re-named her too. Kind David also had to do this, so how about you?
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
More Powerful Promises: Isaiah 1:19; Matthew 22:37-29; Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 4:23; Ephesians 4:29-31; Philippians 2:14-15; John 15:11; 16:33; 17:13; Psalm 9:9-10; 16:11; Revelation 2:17