Furaha (Or Why I Choose Joy)

Invest - a global discipleship movement for the next generation...

Journey Internship is an movement that is sometimes difficult to describe. The joy and blessing that comes from spending 10 weeks together with people seeking God with all their heart, willing to be misunderstood in the process, and welcoming the pain and freedom that comes with spiritual growth often just leaves us speechless. We saw this writing from Journey 2011 Intern, Lauren McFadden last week and wanted to pass it along to you all this morning. A generation choosing to find their joy only in Him... this is why we "Journey."

I think a lot about joy. I saw it for the first time in Kenya almost four years ago, when it stole my heart for the first time. I saw it again when I went back a year later, and again while I was there this summer. It’s been the common theme of my semester so far, and I love what I’ve been learning about it.

I’ve learned that joy is the byproduct of a choice to be thankful. We can choose to be thankful every day because every single day God is faithful to give us something to praise him and thank him for, whether it’s for the beautiful fall weather, the people around you, or for his new mercies and faithfulness that arise with the sun each morning without fail. Sometimes for me its something as small as the caffeine that the Lord somehow always provides when I’m losing energy. Sometimes it’s even smaller, like being thankful for the breath I’m breathing right now, and now, and now.

Joy also flows from a choice to acknowledge that it’s not about me. I am a tiny part in God’s huge story that has been unfolding since before I was born, and will continue after I’m not here. His story is glorious, and detailed, and wild, and its goal is to glorify the name of the Lord above everything else. The best part is that he’s invited us into his story, and by doing so he gives us our own story to tell that is centered on his glory, and there, in glorifying him we find joy. Once we realize it’s not about us we are free to not only live to glorify the Lord, but to love freely, sometimes without an expectation of receiving love in return. When the love we give is an overflow of the love Christ has lavished on us, it has the power to heal, and to grow. There’s so much joy in that.

And so I choose joy. Not because I always feel that elated, high-on-life feeling, but because we’ve been invited to dance with our Creator in a dance that is as ancient as it is radical and new. We’ve been invited into his plan, to live for a Kingdom that is bigger and better than everything in me, and anything we can imagine. My circumstances do not, and will not define my joy because I know that even in difficult situations I’m being transformed in to Christ’s likeness with ever-increasing glory. And that, my friends, is something to be joyful about.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Phil 4:4-5

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Cor. 3:18

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! – Lam. 3:22-24