Posted by: myroadtoemmaus | January 29, 2010

joy

Several months ago, a good friend of ours told me that he woke up in the middle of the night and just had the strangest sense that he was supposed to encourage me to continue contending for my middle name. 

My name has always been a bittersweet thing.  Sweet because I love it!  Bitter because 83.5% of people I meet for the first time get it wrong.  45.3% get it wrong the second time… and let’s be honest, there are still several people who continue to get it wrong, even those that I see weekly.  Though Russell assures me that it’s not that they dont’ care, it’s just a hard name to remember… it still irks me a little bit.  “It’s Eliza JOY, not just Eliza… not Elijah, not Elizabeth, not Elisa, not Elisha… Eliza JOY.  And yes, I go by both names…. not just Eliza.  Only my grandmother can call me Eliza.”  “Oh, ok, nice to meet you Eliza.”  Seriously?  Seriously.

But lately, the Lord has been speaking to me about my name.  You see, I have always considered myself a pretty outgoing, extroverted, generally excited and happy person.  But there is a significant difference between the aforementioned traits and true joy.  Joy is not contingent upon circumstances.  Joy has its roots in deep gratitude.  Joy exudes confidence.  Joy is on the inside… first, and on the outside, second.  And joy cannot be attained apart from God.  For “in His presence is the fullness of joy” (ps. 16).  Only in His presence. 

I have experienced joy as a result of accomplishments, as the fruit of relationships, and as a product of circumstances.  But recently, I am discovering that those three areas aren’t doing so hot.  Could it be that the Lord wants me to truly find my joy in Him?  Not His blessings… but Him?  Then, when there are accomplishments, milestones, favor, blessings, and fruit… the joy I experience from the gifts will not substitute the joy I experience from the Giver.  The joy from the gifts will just be icing on the cake. 

So every time someone leaves the Joy out of my name, I am subtly reminded that the enemy is a thief and he has tried for the last 25 years to steal my joy.  Shame.  Pain.  Loss.  Bitterness.  Resentment.  Comparison.  Judgment.  These things stifle and suppress my joy… but they don’t have to

In His presence is fullness of joy… and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

And in the meantime, I’m going to continue to contend.

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