War on Worry
By: Noelani Jones
My mom has an all time favorite picture of me. I’m about 18 months old and she always says the look on my face is sheer joy and zeal for life.
I often find myself looking at this picture and it leaves a bittersweet taste in my mouth because sometimes that girl feels so far away.
There’s a desire to go back to simpler times, before life became more complicated and my heart had ever felt calloused to resting in the truth of who God is. There are times I have unknowingly built walls around myself to guard my heart.
I have been hesitant to dream as I once did - not allowing room for God to do the impossible with the same childlike faith as I once had. There are areas in my life that I still battle for control and am learning to trust God at a deeper level every day - to truly surrender all to him as I patiently wait for his plan to unfold. In this season of my life, I have felt more desperate to know true peace, contentment, and joy.
Somewhere in all of our lives we have mourned the loss of the “lost” child within us who was fearless, confident, and dared to believe the impossible. We run from rest because resting means we are vulnerable. We would rather be busy, worried, anxious or we are too busy being worried, anxious and fearful to ever look up and believe that God desired to give us more.
Whether we say it or not we have come to realize we can’t do everything, we can’t control everything and that scares us. Why? Because we realize the things we desire most cannot be attained by our hands and hard work. We come up with temporal results that are band aids to recurring broken parts of our hearts we never handed over to God. And it leaves us- myself included- anxious, hurt, confused, Frustrated. It makes us feel like giving up.
But friends don’t give up. Cause right where you are is right where God wants to meet you. To see your fully uncovered soul and give it to him to heal. To restore. To revive and bring life back to. But there's a catch- we must trust Him. Trust that he knows better, his plans are better, and that he himself is better than anything we could ever attain. And right now this tension is where we find joy. Why? Because Joy is Jesus. And when we finally come to the end of ourselves there he is waiting with everything we never thought we would need to heal our souls and leaves us better than we came to him and promises he will do more. Not because we desire it but because his love for us is so great he wants to do it for us.
If that isn’t cause of joy I don’t know what is. And the beauty of it all is none of this requires us doing things. The root of true joy is love. Not our love for God, but rather, his love for us. A love that gave everything for us. A love that is unconditional and relentlessly pursues us even in our most vulnerable moments. . As Psalm 23:6 (NIV) says...
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23:6 NIV
God promises us that his goodness will follow us and that we can rest in his grace, rest in his love, and rest in his relentless pursuit of our hearts. Jesus meets us in the depth of our pain, fear, and hopelessness and shows us a kind of love and joy that cannot be found anywhere but in Him.
Joy isn’t always fun. Trials will still come. Life is still hard. The valleys of life don’t go away but rather we go in with a different lens. So God can show us that his goodness can still be found here even if it’s only the fact that there is still breath in your lungs. Joy says even when things don’t go my way there is grace for this moment and a God big enough to carry my doubts, my mourning, my weeping, ashes and give me beauty, glory, dancing. It is in action that he leads by example and enables us by his grace to live through these bittersweet moments with hope in spite of the situations that might be in front of us. Joy is knowing that he is present in spite of all the brokenness life throws at us. There is sweetness he gives us so that we may say, surely his goodness and love...
So today I don’t know where you are. I don’t know what baggage weighs heavy even on this day that is meant to be filled with gratitude. May I encourage you that there is a very loving father who is ready and desires to take it all...ALL and breathe life into your bones. And as his breath reaches deep down to the roots of your soul, may you come to fully embrace and accept the beautiful truth that encapsulates our purpose: we are fully known and fully loved by the creator of the universe who out of love bore our brokenness to give us a brand new life.