It’s different than happiness, it’s steady, and it’s more in your gut and less circumstantial. Joy can only come from the Lord; it swells within you deep in your core. It comes from knowing you are loved eternally, that you have been forgiven and saved. Joy is a gift, but what if you lose it? What if you misplace it under fear and depression? What if the cloud of anxiety falls over you and you cannot escape it? What if the enemy convinces you that you are no longer loved?
This happened to me.
I lived in a fog of lies and fear and anxiety crippled me.
I was a completely different person than I knew.
I felt tired and worn out and stretched and I wasn’t really doing anything.
The slightest interaction with someone would cause me to turn inward and anxious.
I stopped being intentional with the people around me and isolated myself.
“I need alone time” became my phrase, it haunted me, but it became my truth.
Anxiety attacks plagued my every day and going to group events made me want to vomit. I wasn’t fighting back because I didn’t know I needed to. I was blinded to the attacks that were being thrown at me. Even though I wasn’t myself, I thought this was just who I was now. Lies, so many lies, swirled and swirled around and sank deeply into my identity.
But like so many fights, someone has to win and someone has to lose.
The enemy lost.
Jesus won, just like He always does.
Trevor and I went to IHOP (international house of prayer, not pancakes) in Kalamazoo and something happened. I began worshipping and praying and asking for some sort of truth. Earlier that day I had written in my journal,
“Lord, I just don’t know if you love me anymore.”
I sat and waited. I knew the words had to come from someone else because I couldn’t hear anything but lies in my own head.
Then, a woman walked up to the microphone and began speaking.
“I just feel like there is someone here that is too hard on themselves and needs reminded of truth.”
I started to weep. I knew she was talking to me, I knew the Lord was trying to break through.
She continued with a verse from Romans and a lot more truth that I needed to hear.
Something lifted from me that night. An evil, a spirit, something, but all I know is I felt lighter.
On Sunday at church I worshipped with a new boldness and joy that I had lost, missed, forgotten.
Trevor started the process of waking me up.
Without him the fog would have lasted a lot longer than it did.
The lord used him in ways I cannot explain.
You need people.
I need people.
We are meant for community.
We are meant to break bread with people we love.
We need people because people are images of God.
Without the people we are lost.
God wants us to fight for each other.