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Joy is one of those emotions that I think we can often take for granted. We don’t always notice when it’s there, but we sure do take notice when it’s gone. There are many things in life that can make us feel joy: a warm summer’s day, reading a great book, spending quality time with loved ones. How often do you put spending time with God on that list? Or how about, saying that you are joyful for being single? Whoa, I know, crazy right? Who on earth would be happy about singleness, especially when the bible says that we should take joy in having a Godly marriage? Well the truth is, when you don’t have someone else taking up your time and energy, you can focus on the joy that spending time with your heavenly Father brings!
I know that this may not sound as fun and romantic as nurturing a relationship with a potential spouse, but the truth is that we don’t NEED a spouse to make us happy. We just don’t. Nothing about being single is going to actually kill you if you don’t have it. “But I’m lonely,” you might say and loneliness can be connected with depression and suicide (neither of which is what I’m talking about here- if you feel that you have depression or are feeling suicidal, please seek out professional help and know that I am rooting for you to come out the other side, I’ve been there and I understand how you feel). However, romantic relationships are only one of the many ways in which God helps us to combat the loneliness that we are all prone to feel at one time or another. We can combat those negative, joy draining feelings by fostering friendships, reconnecting with family members, or reaching out to those who may be shut in and lonely as well.
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Just because it seems like God hasn’t blessed you with the spouse or romantic relationship that you want, doesn’t mean that you can’t be joyful and happy about all of the other wonderful things that He has blessed you with in this life. Psalm 144:15 states “Happy are those who are like this; happy are the people whose God is the LORD.” See? Just having God as our Lord is enough to bring us bountiful happiness. Why? Because God IS love!
When we’re single, we can often struggle with feeling inadequate or unlovable, but God IS love and when we put our faith in Him, He fills us with the most pure love possible. Human love always has conditions and is completely fallible, because humans are fallible. God’s love on the other hand, is PERFECT and there is no other way for us to feel this love on earth without surrendering ourselves to Him and fostering a relationship with Him. When you choose to fully accept God’s promises to love you, care for you, cherish you as His beloved child, and challenge you to help you be the best you that you can be (sorry, I know that’s cheesy, but it’s true), you choose to experience the greatest joy in the universe, which can only be felt through the true love of Jesus.
While I didn’t grow up in the church, I did have a cassette tape of children’s bible songs (yes, I know that I’m dating myself here). One of the songs that I loved was “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart to stay.” While this is obviously an oversimplification of God’s joy, I think that sometimes it helps to look at things with a child-like innocence. As adults, we tend to complicate things and over analyze our feelings. When you’re caught in an endless battle of frustration about being single, dating, divorce, or whatever it is that drives a wall between you and God, you tend to forget the one, simple truth that seems to come so easy to children. That truth is that God loves you, He cares for you, and He desperately wants to have a relationship with you. He doesn’t want anything to separate Him from you!
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Now, as an adult you might be saying, “but there is so much more to life.” My question to you would be, is there? If you boil everything down, ultimately we’re all searching for love and acceptance and our heavenly Father doles out love, acceptance, and grace with no strings attached. It’s merely because He loves us that He makes a way for us to be with Him always. So why wouldn’t you be joyful?
1 Peter 1:8-9 states “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” While we cannot physically see God, we know that He is there. He is the only one who can provide us with real, lasting joy. Everything else that we strive for in this life (because we think it will make us happy), is only fleeting. Sure, a new car or a new boyfriend will make us feel happy for a period of time, but only God can fill that void that you feel deep inside and once you truly learn to accept that, you will be able to revel in the feeling of true happiness.
I’m ending this post today by quoting Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” So what still holds you back from taking part in God’s joy? How do you plan to allow God to be your pure joy starting today?