This thing we call life truly is funny. All throughout our formative years we have family, support systems and influential adults to show us the way or guide us as we walk a specific path. But as we get older, we tend to become our own support system. We encounter hurt and pain, we learn about manipulation and disappointment and the other not so pleasant and in some cases down right mean spirit of others. Despite your best effort, life takes over and you find yourself drifting further and further away from the ideals and principles, values and morals we grew up learning and believing in throughout our youth and young adulthood.
Ironically, sometimes the hardships in life can be so devastating that we find ourselves drifting away not just from family and friends, but from God, our very sustainer.
Life really does happen…My newborn son died one week after his birth and I remember asking “Lord, how in the world will I ever get through this?” Truth be told you never “get through” or “get over” losing a child but He did show Himself strong and I learned for myself, the truth of the scripture Hebrews 13:5 (Amp) “I will never (under any circumstances) desert you (nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless), nor will I forsake or let you down or relax my hold on you (assuredly not).
While the scriptures tell us that God will not leave us, what happens when we leave Him? Death, divorce, disappointment, discouragement…all these things are real and can surely rock your world. And as you are “dealing” with the trials and tribulations of life, before you know it, there is a separation, a void between you and God.
For me, I realized that void when I recognized my joy was gone. I wasn’t smiling or singing or doing any of the things I use to do that always filled my spirit. Essentially my countenance had changed. I remember, one day someone asked me “what’s wrong? You look gray.” I went home, looked myself in the face, looked deep in my eyes and saw the gray, dull, lifeless center of my eyes they were referring too. Personally for me, recognizing and then accepting that my joy was gone was the first step in getting back to me.
From there I thought “what am I feeding my soul?” I began to pay more attention to what I looked at and what I listened to and that prompted me to make some changes. I started looking at the likes of T.D. Jakes, Joyce Myers and others on TV. I also listened to some soul reaching music. No, it wasn’t all gospel but it was good uplifting and encouraging music. Jill Scott and Mary J were on repeat. I accepted that it was bad, but I knew it was going to be better. The bad wouldn’t last always!!
Oddly enough, I also stopped sitting in the back at church. I MADE myself sit on the 2 nd or 3 rd row every week. I learned that sitting in the back was distracting and therefore I really wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t allowing my spirit to truly receive the transforming power of the word of God my Bishop was delivering.
I changed my circle. I stopped being with people who were what I call comwhining (complaining and whining) like I was but I got in the presence of those who had a solid foundation built on Christ.
And I accepted and started repeating the words that my Bishop said to me every time he saw me “your best is yet to come”. When he started saying this to me I didn’t believe it and thought he was just a little crazy. But at some point it really did get in my spirit and I started believing it, then saying it and ultimately started living it.
I am sure some of you are wondering well, did she pray, read her word, fast? And while those things are critical and equally transformative I wasn’t there yet. I needed something that I could hold on to, something practical and applicable to me, something that I knew I could put on repeat and keep doing.
The beauty of my journey is that I was reminded of what I believe in and place value on. It helped me rediscover my core truth. It helped me rediscover my faith. It helped me rediscover the God in me and I learned personally that the joy of the Lord truly is my strength.
So I leave you with this…look in the mirror and check for dullness. Look yourself square in the eyes and see if they look empty or do they sparkle with joy. Be honest when you ask yourself the question has your joy waned? If you answer yes, then ask God how to get it back. Listen to what He says and then chart the course. Remember He doesn’t leave or forsake us. He is right there, with open arms awaiting for you to come back. And remember you rediscover yourself as you are rediscovering Him in you.