Count It All Joy

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Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 ESV {emphasis added}

This is the year I’m {re}learning joy. As I was praying and contemplating what that looks like, I realized it starts with acknowledging the hard things I face, the trials in my life, are actually tools God uses to teach me. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the sideshow of how all these hard things affect me and cause me difficulty and miss the main attraction — God working in me.

Count it ALL joy? Even the hard stuff?

When we deal with strained relationships and people we find hard to love and forgive, it is hard to see that as a gift. But it is. Those hard moments, those difficult people, those times when we just want to walk away are the very places God uses to grow our faith.

Paul Miller’s latest book, Love Walked among Us: Learning to Love Like Jesus, is a great resource for those of us trying to understand how to find joy and how to love and what this all looks like in real life. In a chapter about how hard it is to love others sometimes he writes, “Love always moves toward people to restore relationships” (104).

When we allow the trials of broken relationships and difficult people to cause us to pull away, we aren’t loving the way God intended. And when this is true, we won’t experience the joy He offers.

So many of the blessings of God, like joy, are rooted in the example of Christ and how He lived. Jesus sought to restore.

One of the big keys to learning joy is loving others well. We cannot harbor resentment or bitterness toward others and hope to find the fullness of joy in Christ.

This year I’m getting real about forgiveness and seeking healing in the broken relationships in my life. I’m not looking for apologies or to place blame. I’m moving toward others … even when I don’t want to, even when it’s risky, even when they may hurt me again.

Joy doesn’t come easily. It takes hard work sometimes. I think of the Psalmist’s words, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning” {Psalm 30:5}.

And so, as the dawn brings the start of a new year, I’m moving from weeping and mourning into joy.

With joy,

Teri Lynne

In what areas do you struggle to “count it all joy”?

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Don’t forget … 31 Verses to Pray for Your Marriage starts tomorrow!!!

31 Verses to Pray for Your Marriage

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