Sometimes the joy comes after

Yesterday was the kind of day some harried mother must have had when she coined the phrase, “If a woman’s place is in the home, why am I always in the car?”

I knew I had to be at one place at 9 a.m., but I hadn’t foreseen several other things coming up and errands piling upon errands throughout the day. I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow account, but by 5:30 p.m. I ended up bringing fast-food dinner home to sit down for a few minutes until church. During the course of the day I was informed of an opportunity for service at church that evening — actually more of a responsibility than an opportunity. Maybe because it was unexpected, maybe because I was already tired — I’m a homebody, and being out all day makes me tired and a little cranky — I did not react with joy and enthusiasm at the news. Some of the unexpected errands had to do with preparations for this unexpected event. By church time, honestly, if I hadn’t had this responsibility, I might have talked myself into being too tired to go.

Yet we live by faith, not by feeling, and part of faith is not just what we believe but also the outworking of that faith into our daily lives, sometimes in spite of feelings. So I went. And as so often happens, I was glad I did. I had begun the evening tired and harried, and came home joyful and refreshed.

That has happened so often in my life: I remember times of being asked to do something and not feeling the liberty to say no (it’s not that I never say no — I feel perfectly free to decline at times), yet instead of “serving the Lord with gladness” I dragged my feet and chafed at the intrusion on my time and energy. Then afterward I was so ashamed of myself for my negative feelings and so immensely glad I done the task  — not just in the satisfaction of having done one’s “duty” or “a good deed” but — I don’t know how to describe it — just joy in actually serving.

Last night I picked up a copy of Joy And Strength, a devotional book of quotes and verses compiled by Mary Wilder Tileston. I had gone through it a few times several years ago and had it nearby to glean some of the quotes of it I wanted to remember. The reading for yesterday fit perfectly:

He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
EPHESIANS 1:4

O LOVE, who formedst me to wear
The image of Thy Godhead here;
Who soughtest me with tender care
Through all my wanderings wild and drear;
O Love! I give myself to Thee,
Thine ever, only Thine to be.
JOHANN SCHEFFLER

WE live not for ourselves, but for God; for some purpose of His; for some special end to be accomplished, which He has willed to be accomplished by oneself, and not by another; something which will be left undone, if we do it not, or not be done as it would have been done, if the one ordained to it had done it. We live gifted with certain forms of spiritual grace embodied in us, for some purpose of Divine Love to be fulfiled by us, some idea of the Divine Mind to be imaged forth in our creaturely state. To devote oneself to God is to concentrate the powers of one’s being to their ordained end, and therefore to have the happiest and truest life–happiest, because happiness must be in the accordance of these powers with the law of their creation, and truest, because the attainment of the highest glory must be in the accomplishment of the end for which we were created.
T. T. CARTER

The May 21-25 readings are good and applicable as well.

9 thoughts on “Sometimes the joy comes after

  1. I think that we do this many times in our life. Go into something that we don’t want to do and come out feeling like “WOW”. Then we beat our selves up a little for having the attitude we did going in. My point is as long at the end of the day we are happy with what we have accomplished, not matter how we got there and got them done, we have done well. Life is so hectic every day but we endure and accomplish. Not much better than that if you ask me 🙂

  2. I so know what you mean! I can’t tell you the number of times when our Pastor has deviated from his “planned” message and simply spoke what the Holy Spirit has told him to say. Many of those times were for me (not that they might not have been especially for others too) and were just what I needed to hear from the Lord. It’s so awesome that God will go out of His way like that just to minister to one. It happened twice this past Sunday in fact.

  3. Tis true, tis true. I often wonder how many times I have failed to hear the request, or … said “He couldn’t mean ME…” OR… flat out said “no”… and I wonder what blessings I’VE missed out on because of it! LOL! Because sure enough, when you DO hear it, and you DO do it, there is ALWAYS a blessing! Even if it IS just the joy of having done it – or the rejuvenation at the time! I try really hard these days NOT to miss the request!

  4. Barbara,

    Great post – I always appreciate your transparency in sharing the trials and triumphs of your life. Yes, joy might come later… but it ALWAYS comes if we abide in the Lord.

    Blessings.

  5. I can’t tell you the number of times I have drug myself off to a church duty when I felt too tired, or too sick to too whatever else, and came home tap dancing on air and with energy to burn. When the Holy Spirit fills us up, we are good to go!

  6. I’m a homebody too and lately I’ve been living in my car due to the boys activities and NOT loving it. It makes me a cranky momma too.
    And I understand exactly what you are talking about. I was asked to teach vacation bible school this summer for the preschool crowd. I really don’t need another thing to do. But no one else would do it and I felt that I needed to but I wasn’t happy about it. Although I KNOW that I will have a wonderful time once I do it (the little kids are so cute). I think I’m going to print out the devotional and hang it on my fridge as a reminder 🙂

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