I used this phrase, exhausted with joy, on a recent Facebook status and a couple of friends encouraged me to write about it.
I've been pondering this phrase off and on since then.
My life is not problem-less right now. But it is fair to say that I am in a season that is marked by joy. And well... sometimes it's exhausting. Believe me, that is not a problem! I've been exhausted before with pain and frustration and wondering if I would ever know joy. So I'll take the kind of exhaustion that joy brings any day.
Why is joy exhausting? Well, in that particular week, I was hosting four women as they prepared to lead a retreat for 50 facilitators. They were holding meetings in my home for a couple of days and we were gathering with other leaders in the area in the evenings. I was also keeping up with my new job. My mind was churning with ideas and my heart was filled with the joy of being with all these different people which I love dearly and admire so much. All of us were working together to listen and respond to the Lord's leadership regarding next steps in both ministries. In some ways I think it was simply sensory overload. So on top of the fantastic activity throughout the day it was also challenging to settle in each night and get some sleep.
I've spoken with a couple of different people this week about the heartache and confusion of joylessness. Both have shared with me that they wonder if they will ever know joy. I have totally been there. For me, the pathway to joy was narrow. It's another piece of the transformation process. The pathway to joy was a process of pressing out doubts and fear and having all those beliefs exchanged for faith and trust. And now, in the area of finding purpose for my life, I'm on the other side of that pressing out process.
Thank God! I have walked with my doubts and fears through the valley of trust and faith and come out on the other side... and well, it's a new day! I know joy here. It is indeed a new day. I love it when I get exhausted with it!
I'm writing this in part to say that if there is an absence of joy, don't give up hope that God is up to something very very good in your life. Keeping asking the Lord to bring joy into your life. Press on. And please have people, praying with you, about it all. Ask the Lord to help you find a verse that reminds you to walk by faith and submit to being pressed in on. My verses came from Lamentations 3 and Proverbs 3 and Jeremiah 29. (Picture from Sherri Sund)