"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is our strength …"
-- Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)
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The worries and fears of life's problems can drag us down. If we keep our minds on our problems all the time, we can become problem-focused.
Focusing on the problem only causes the worry and fear to intensify and stresses us. God tells us worry weakens us, and joy strengthens us.
Searching for joy in the midst of life's troubles always lightens our load, and our relaxed state can help bring solutions to mind.
Nehemiah was a biblical prophet who was grieved over the destruction of the protective walls surrounding Jerusalem. Through prayer he realized it was his task to rebuild those walls.
But in doing so, there was great opposition coming against him and his helpers. In the middle of the project they were feeling weak and weary.
One day, Nehemiah had a talk with his workers and instructed them the joy of the Lord was their strength. Nehemiah and his workers decided to find the joy in their task working for the Lord and carried on with the job to complete it.
God has given us the emotions we need to get through the difficulties of life's trials. One of them is joy. But how do we find Godly joy that strengthens us?
The writer of the biblical Psalms prayed, "Restore me to the joy of your salvation." (Psalms 51:12)
This writer believed that we have been given eternal life through God's plan of salvation as Jesus Christ fills our hearts with joy. Thinking about the good things to be thankful for can turn our worries into joy.
Changing our facial expression by smiling can cause our worried frowns and furled brows to take on a new body language, thus making us feel better. Besides, we may get some smiles back in return.
I believe Jesus smiled at people.
Laughing restores joy to a situation. Laughing at our silly mistakes can lighten our moods. Playing with a child can make our hearts merry. Jesus enjoyed little children.
Helping someone in need fills our hearts with joy. Praying with expectation to receive answers and relief can render a happier heart.
Like Nehemiah, as we take on the task to rebuild something in our lives, let's find the strength to do it through the discovery of Godly joy.
•Annettee Budzban is a Christian author, speaker, life coach and nurse. Join her from 3-4 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at Panera Bread in Crystal Lake for "Dream Big! Make your dreams reality." The conference is free. Bring a friend. Registration is preferred due to limited seating. Call (847) 543-8413 or email Annetteebudzban@aol.com