It is easy to be critical and judgmental. I find myself doing both on a regular basis. I can justify my judgments and even back some up with scripture. Yet when I am doing this am I trying to point people to the Word or am I trying to use the Word to justify my actions? Another reason to act n this way is when you have been under attack most of your life or feel under attack the automatic response can be to lay down and play dead and pretend there is nothing wrong or to be defensive and attack what you feel is attacking you.
In my life I have suffered abuse, rape, ridicule and a list of other painful events. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, and fight depression, and even tried to commit suicide. If you were to meet me on a good day, and that is a day when the level of joy in my heart out weighs the darkness in my mind you would not guess the level of pain I am in. I have a friend when she first met me, she was drawn in by the level of joy I had that even though I was going through one of the worst periods of my life I could smile and be friendly. She wanted to know how I could be like this, and my answer was Jesus. That even though I had lost what was most important to me, I did not lose my relationship with Him and that through the trials I actually grew closer. did this mean my depression and sorrow left me? The unfortunate answer is no.
So what is there to do? Sing in the rain! Dance through the pain! Then laugh until I cry. I can still laugh even though I hurt. I can laugh at myself. The funniest jokes are the ones I can relate to personally. If all I do is curl up in a ball, pulling the covers over my head and cry, then I remain in the dark. Laughter helps me break the sound of sorrow. Sharing my laughter helps others. It encourages us that even when we hurt we can laugh and find joy in this painful life. People will criticize me and say that I am wrong and some will even say that I am being disrespectful. If I fall down and end up in a puddle of mud I can sit and cry like a child, or I can get up laugh and stomp around the mud. Which is the better choice? By the way I did fall in a large puddle of mud once and ended up sitting in mud that covered me to the waste while working one job many years ago. I had an entire crew witness me do this. I could have sat there embarrassed by my slip but instead I laughed and started a mud fight. Grown adults playing in the mud. It had broke the tension of a bad work day where we working in a bad condition because of what the weather had done to the job site. Instead we ended up laughing the rest of the day and the rest of our work though difficult was lightened by our better mood. So sing in the rain, splash around in the puddles, and lift yourself and others out of the muddy pit you may be in. I am grateful to be able to laugh when I feel so much pain. So criticize me if you feel you have to, meanwhile I will be making mud pies and stomping in the puddles making a splash in this life. It may seem silly and wrong to you but if I can make one person smile and better yet laugh, then I have done good and you cannot take that away from me.
I hope you have enjoyed these devotionals focused on joy. You can find her study on choose joy on Kay warrens website or on Amazon. Joy does not come easy for most of us we have to seek it and true joy comes only from the Lord.
This morning has been incredible. I woke up inspired and filled with the joy of the Lord. I even was able to enjoy the sunrise. As the day has progressed thoughts keep filling my mind. I have been posting a series of devotionals by Kay Warren from Saddleback Church and wife of Rick Warren a pastor and author of ‘A purpose Driven Life’. My inspiration for sharing these devotionals is because I struggle with PTSD and depression. I have good days and bad. Learning that joy is not because I have an absence of problems but that in the middle of the dark and stormy days in my life I have the assurance that God is both with me and for me. Since I know that I am not alone in my struggle and that others have their own battles and the need I have to be encouraged I want to encourage others not to give up. I have also battled suicide because my depression has been at times more than I could bear alone but thanks to God I am still here and I have a hope that I did not have before. The joy of the Lord is my strength and He gives me hope to press forward and to hold on when there is nothing I can see to hold on to. I may not be able to see Him as I can see you and you can see me but I see Him all around me if I just open my eyes to Him.
Another thing that I have just started sharing are some jokes that I am finding that are not vulgar but comical and make me laugh.Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Sharing the laughter God blesses me with lifts up my spirit. When I get to feeling down and depressed I try to find things to make me laugh. I will find a good comedy to watch so laughter fills my home. As I begin to laugh I feel the heavy weight of my depression or even my anger lift from me. It is hard to be angry or depressed for long once you start laughing. I have even laughed at myself at times. When pain and anger rises in me and I just let out a blood curdling scream. Then I hear the scream as it comes out of my mouth and wonder how many people just heard me. I live alone and I am physically small (not even 5 foot) but my voice can carry and can be very loud. When I think about the reactions of others who are with hearing distance I begin to laugh for a couple of reasons. One I may have just startled someone without meaning too and they have no idea where the scream came from, and the other reason I realize how ridiculous I must have looked and how God watching me is probably thinking, “There goes my girl again being silly”. Whether that is actually true or not I will one day find out when I get to the place Jesus is preparing for me. I have to confess there were times when I started throwing a mock tantrum in front of a child who was throwing their own temper tantrum and how they stop and stare at me like I am crazy has made me laugh so hard that they too began to laugh with me.
Am I going to continue having difficulties in this world? Yes I am. Am I going to be able to face the challenges and problems I face with a smile and laughter? No would be the honest answer but as I grow in my relationship with Jesus I will be able to do so without having to fake it. Yesterday was actually one of those days for me. I was in and actually still am in a lot of pain due to my back. Previous injuries which I can talk about later flare up and I can barely stand up or even use my hands without excruciating pain. I am in bad enough shape this week that I should have stayed home from work yesterday. My manager even asked me before I clocked in if I was going to be able to handle working. My answer was I had to make myself work because no work means no income and my bills are already more than I can pay. So I made it through my shift and carried out my work duties and served customers with a smile and a joyful voice, and if it had not been the way I was limping and the difficulties I had using my hands no one could have guessed how much pain I was in. It wasn’t until I was walking back to the building after bringing a customer their order and saw my reflection in the door that I had realized that I was actually smiling. It was not one of my fake smiles I had learned to wear as a mask to cover how I really felt. Years of working with the public taught me that the public does not want someone who looks upset or down serving them. You learn to be cheerful and smile because it is good for business. Yet as bad as I was physically feeling emotionally and spiritually God have given me a glad heart and it was showing. I was so grateful that He had done this for me that it has spilled into this day. I woke joyful and with praise to God on my lips. I tell you that this is a blessing especially since I am not a morning person. I have a spirit of ease about me today and my mood has been lifted.
There are only a couple of days left in the ‘Choose Joy’ devotionals but I will continue to share the things that bring me laughter, to share my laughter with you. So I will close this with a joke and a link to a page on scriptures about laughter. God bless you and fill your heart with joy and laughter.
chose this joke since I shared with you about how I sometimes scream
A taxi passenger tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him a question.
The driver screamed, lost control of the car, nearly hit a bus, went up on the footpath, and stopped centimeters from a shop window.
For a second everything went quiet in the cab, then the driver said, “Look mate, don’t ever do that again. You scared the daylights out of me!”
The passenger apologized and said, “I didn’t realize that a little tap would scare you so much.”
The driver replied, “Sorry, it’s not really your fault. Today is my first day as a cab driver – I’ve been driving a funeral van for the last 25 years”.