Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)
TITLE: Jump for Joy
By Jean Duerr
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We meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8 to 9 o’clock at the YMCA for an exhilarating time in the water attempting to loosen our joints and give our hearts a hug with aerobic type exercise. “Jumps for joy” involves throwing our arms into the air while we jump as high as we can, allowing the water to be our cushion of support. I’m not quite sure what the lifeguard thinks as she witnesses this bunch of ladies ranging in age from forty to ninety acting like kids. We really have a fun time together. Friendships have developed over the years as we share each others good times and bad times. One is missed when on vacation or away for medical reasons.
Hearing the instructor shout, “Let’s do ‘jumps for joy’,” I think back to a time in my life when I was struggling in some areas. I just didn’t feel happy or was it a lack of joy? I couldn’t sort out my feelings. I prayed over and over and still did not feel happy. I kept asking the Lord to forgive me for anything that was not right in my life. I couldn’t come up with one more thing to confess. Yet, there was still an ache inside me; something was missing.
Finally, while sitting in a home Bible study group, it all came together. Our family had recently moved to a new area and we visited a church one Sunday and decided we wanted to know a little bit more about them so we attended their Wednesday night get-together. We, or should I say I, had been struggling with leaving the church we had attended for twenty-eight years. We were actively involved in the goings on of that church and all of our friends were there. We had been visiting churches in the area, much closer to our home than our previous church, but I felt guilty every time I thought about leaving our church.
During the course of the evening, the group leader began to share with us the difference between happiness and joy. “Happiness is based on circumstances and joy is based on our relationship with the Lord,” he said. I knew that! Why hadn’t I been able to see that for myself? Because, I was too immersed in my own emotional mess. The Lord is so good. He knew my need and directed us to attend this study group so He could restore to me the joy of my salvation.
I was reminded that evening that I could choose to change my circumstances. I had been confusing happiness with joy. There was nothing wrong with my relationship with the Lord, my problem was I had some fear about finding the right church and letting go of the old and that did not make me feel happy. Once I grabbed hold of that truth, I felt a peace come over me and the ache inside was replaced with the joy of the Lord. In a very short time, we found a wonderful church that welcomed us and provided opportunities for us to serve as we had in our previous church.
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