chronic illness

Happiness Compared to Joy

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What is the difference between happiness and joy. Many people think that they are the same, but they are very different, especially for us Christians, and when it comes to self-worth, it’s very important to understand the difference.

It has taken me many years to find my joy in everyday life living with multiple chronic and invisible illnesses. I used to say I just wanted to be happy, but happiness never truly came, until God showed me joy. With joy, happiness is not needed.

We must always focus on Christ first. Yes, we may feel worthless during certain seasons of our life. I have been there myself so many times.  I always wanted to work. I had started college at the age of 18 and was unable to continue do to my health. Then I was unable to keep a job for the same reasons, and my health kept getting worse. I felt completely helpless and worthless until God changed my heart completely literally about a week ago when I suddenly had the desire to be able to do what stay-at-home moms do like chores and cooking, I wanted to continue my education online for photography and focus on our ministries in the church, and that was my joy; within my family and church, and never before did I feel that. See, God showed me what was meant for me, and by listening to Him, I was able to see my own self worth from God because of the fact His only Son died for me and my sins. What I wanted was not what He wanted for me, and finally He showed me my calling. I wasn’t focusing on Christ first, but my own wants. I no longer feel hopeless or worthless.

Happiness is depended on circumstances when joy is everlasting and never-changing regardless of the circumstance(s) because joy is found in Christ. When I was searching for happiness, I felt empty because I was searching far from Christ. Without focusing on Him first, there won’t be any happiness or joy. When we put our eyes back on Jesus, the joy comes back. Matthew 6:33-34 says “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Yes, we don’t know what tomorrow has in store for us, but God does, so why would we not put Him first in everything we do?

No longer do I see my self-worth in what the world sees of me or in working outside of the home or getting a degree in what would make the most money, but I see it in what God says I am and what He has planned for me, because He knows what tomorrow brings. The feeling of joy is nothing like I have ever experienced before, and I am so glad that I am finally experiencing it, and I pray that you find joy in what God sees in you.

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Holding On

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The last few weeks as I stated a few days ago have been rough for me. Not only did I go through a two week fibromyalgia flare, but after it ended I then had to go through the aftermath of sore and twitching muscles and fatigue. It’s been like this for many years.

I used to not do very well when I went through a long flare like this, but this time was different and it’s only by the grace of God that I was able to hold on.

May is going to be a month of “who knows”. Many appointments and procedures, but I am ready. God has a plan for me, and I am already being led down the path, I just have to hold on. I am going through these medical trials to shine the light for others, and I know that is what I have been called to do. It’s not always easy, but I can say with all certainty that it’s worth it and makes us stronger, but only if we stay in prayer and the word. I have been doing daily devotionals and reading through the Bible every day. I keep a prayer journal just because I have found it easier for me to pray while I write. Whatever works for you. Just give all your burdens and struggles to God, and you will be led and these trials will become easier to go through because you aren’t doing it alone.

I spent way to many years trying to figure out my health on my own, and that was a mistake. I had more stress and fell into a deep depression, but this last flare I found joy and became more thankful for what was given to me and my eyes were opened to just how blessed I was. Pretty clear that if we accept Jesus as our Savior and give our lives to Him, happiness becomes more evident.

So today when I went to church, I was reminded by how much we are loved and if we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we are new and cleansed, and will be carried through our trials. Plus, my church family is always there for me.

You don’t have to go through these trials alone. Give them to Jesus Christ and live your life for Him, and He will lead you and carry you through. He has with me and is continuing.