Journey To Joy
Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand
Negativity was my roadblock to joy…
I’m just going to admit it right off… I am a glass half empty kind of girl. I don’t really want to be, but my melancholy self just leans that way.
No one wants to be around negativity all the time. I didn’t want to be that person everyone avoids, the one who always complains about everything. But I’m afraid I was, and I was tired of being that person.
I begin to realize it was time to do some serious soul searching. It has taken me a long time to accept my own personality and the way God designed me.
As The Lord was ‘forming me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 MSG), as He formed all of us, we were made unique. He made us who we are. He gave us our personalities with all it’s qualities and quirks! We are made in God’s image so our qualities are cause for celebration! The quirks are the things we give to Him to mold into Christlikeness. The former we take for granted, the latter draws us close to Him. This marks our dependence on Him. It keeps us coming to Him again and again, which in turn, enriches our relationship with the Lord. If we were perfect we wouldn’t have to lean in so much.
Starting on this joy journey, the first step was becoming tired of the life of pessimism, which was weighing me down, as well as desiring to be a better representative of God’s marvelous grace. It became a high priority in prayer because I knew I couldn’t do it alone.
I couldn’t will myself to do it, though I tried and failed. I wanted it to be authentic and I needed a changed heart. Oh, how I wish it was a one and done type deal! But no, I didn’t use the word ‘journey’ by accident!
I started intentionally looking for things to be grateful for and searching for the good. A few extra minutes of sleep, a smile from a stranger, a beautiful bargain from the clearance rack! I verbalized my thanks directly to the Lord. Then a funny thing started happening. My heart was responding! The Holy Spirit was transforming me from the inside out! I didn’t have to try so hard. It was becoming…me!
There were some serious challenges.
I have been getting injections in my left eye for about two years. On one visit the nurse was about to numb my right eye. I said, “Stop! You are treating my left eye” He said, “Oh, we are so used to doing both eyes”. And there it was, a choice. I could be bitter about having to get any injections or choose to rejoice that there was only one eye affected.
I chose joy.
That’s all part of the journey.
I’m not talking about a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, rose colored glasses, afraid to speak a negative confession lifestyle. I’m talking about getting to know the love of God in such a powerful way that you know you are His. He will work all things for good. He is for you, not against you. He loves you with an everlasting love. And there is so much more!
I found this by committing to read the Bible through. I used a one year, chronological Bible. Immersing yourself in the Bible, God’s active and alive word will be the key to successfully journey to joy!
Oh, my sweet friend, join me on this journey! You have a greater joy awaiting you!
As you begin your journey I pray:
That Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will go deep down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
Jodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.