Have you ever thought about how much joy you have on a daily basis? Probably not. Most of us walk around, fighting the good fight, just getting through the day giving no regard to whether we’ve experienced any joy. I know I’ve done it and still do it too often. After all, who thinks like that?!
But here’s the thing, if we are not careful, if we don’t pay attention to joy, 5 or 6 years will go by and we’ll become someone we were not intended to be. Let’s face it, life can be hard and disappointments happen. Those difficulties can become like a weight around our necks and can turn us negative, bitter or downright depressed. I believe a key ingredient in this equation is that we stop focusing on the good, we stop remembering where we are blessed and we stop experiencing joy. Often, we can become blocked in our journey with Jesus. It just becomes harder to experience Him and listen to the voice of God.
Gary came to Refresh 9 months ago tired and worn out. He knew he needed a change in his life but wasn’t really sure what it was that he needed. As he dove into our first experience it was really clear, Gary had a joy problem.
Over the years, Gary had a string of disappointments in his life that built upon each other. Things didn’t work out exactly as he had planned. Without realizing it, those disappointments led to apathy and apathy led to negativity. It was this negativity (lack of joy) that had been blocking him from experiencing Jesus at a heart level, the intimacy that he wanted but couldn’t experience.
At the end of the first Refresh, I put out a challenge to Gary - FIGHT FOR JOY. This is a phrase that I have borrowed from John Eldredge over the years. In his book, Walking with God, he writes that the enemy wants to steal our joy and that it is a trap; one that we can’t always see without the help of others. If the enemy can steal our joy than he can neutralize us or worse, take us out. We have to fight for joy! We have to change our perspective and choose to see the beautiful things in life. Sometimes we just need to have fun! After all, it’s amazing what can happen when you just have some fun.
Gary has been fighting for joy over the last 9 months. If you’ve been around him since he started Refresh, you’ll probably notice the change in attitude. He’s more upbeat, focused and he has a little bounce in his step again. But here’s the best part - this shift in perspective has opened him up to hear from Jesus again. King Jesus has been speaking into his life once again and shaping Gary into the man he has designed him to be. He is a better man, a better husband and becoming a better leader. And it started by fighting for joy.
We hope it encourages you to remember to experience joy in your own life as you chase after King Jesus.