day 16: brave in joy!

Just so you know - I wrote this post in during the summer... so the circumstances have changed a bit but the heart of what I'm learning hasn't. 

Read: Nehemiah 8, 12:27-43

I think it is somewhere bordering on hilarious that the week I have set out to write about finding my brave in the middle of anxiety - my husband lost his job. In a single-provider home with six kids this is close to the top of the list of anxiety-inducing circumstances. 

So here I sit at my kitchen table, writing about Nehemiah, writing about anxiety and trying to figure out how I'm going to "practice what I preach" and weather this trial with faith rather than fear. 

This is what I've been doing: I'm just sitting down at my kitchen table every morning looking up verses about anxiety and copying them down. I'm looking up verses on joy and copying them down. I'm finding verses on hope and renewed strength and in between I'm remembering how good God has been to me and trusting Him with my future. In God's providence my pastor preached a sermon this week about anxiety and worry. He said something that has stuck with me through this week and that is the truth that we are not going to accept as okay the sin that Jesus died to set us free from. He also made the point that at it’s heart anxiety is the belief that I can't trust God and he doesn't care about me.

So I'm choosing faith and I'm choosing hope and when a tidal wave of stress threatens to swallow me whole, I'm choosing joy. 

I recently finished the excellent Bible study "Fight Back with Joy" by Margaret Feinburg. One of the things that I learned in this study is the power of joy. Nehemiah is a terrific example of being strengthened with joy, and fighting back against the darkness of life in this fallen world with the light of joy. 

There is something wonderful about VBS music. We’ve been riding around in our van singing along with the CD with the songs from VBS. And as we’re all singing about joy “bubbling up” I realize that this is one of the things I need to do more often. I need to invite joy into my days with songs like the ones that I’ve been listening to this week. 

I don’t know about you but I tend to think of joy like a surprise guest showing up at the back door with flowers. But lately I have discovered that joy is a friend we can invite to come over and into the ordinary yet extraordinary moments of our lives. We can invite joy to have a dance party in the kitchen while we make pancakes for brinner. We can invite joy to meet us for coffee at our favorite place around the corner. We can ask joy to meet us while we step outside to breathe in the sunrise (or sunset). We can shoot out a request for joy to show up with balloons for the kids.

I can invite joy into the quiet.
I can invite joy into the loud.
I can invite joy into the solitude.
I can invite joy into the crowd.

And by inviting joy into my life I am inviting strength because the joy of the LORD is our strength. I am inviting the courage I need to move forward - without fear hanging onto my ankles like a ball and chain, dragging me down into the ruts of worry and anxiety. 

What is the initial response of the Israelites?
What is Nehemiah's command to the people?
How can you implement this principle in your own life?
What can you do to invite joy into my life TODAY?
What do you do to invite joy into my life THIS WEEK?

Additional verses:
Luke 12:13-34
1 Chronicles 16:8-34 (esp 27)
1 Chronicles 28:20-21 (look it up in The Message Translation)
Isaiah 29:9, 35:4, 10
Habakkuk 3:17-19
Psalm 20 (esp v5), 27:6, 34 (esp 1-5), 95:1-2,
Matthew 7:7-11
Romans 5:5
Philippians 4:4-7
Hebrews 12:1-3

“You make known to me the path of life; 
in your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalms 16:11 ESV

Listen: "City of Hope" Amanda Cook


  1. Ooh...I love Brinner! And your post made me think of one of my fave verses Psalm 30:5 "Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning!"


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