Seeking shelter, Finding Joy

Fragile seasons happen to all of us, with wildly different levels of intensity. It can happen instantly through times of tragedy. Or happen slowly through the highs and lows of life.

In some of the most painful times of my life, I found myself retreating. Looking for emotional shelter from the day to day of life. And hey, it’s a natural human response to pull away from pain! The burn of a stove, the prick of a finger all cause us to recoil in self-defence. But that’s all it is, a defence. And I realised that a state of defence isn’t something I want to live forever. I needed a better response than “running for shelter”.

So if it's just you and me over coffee, I wonder, friend, what do we rely on at the deepest level when we ache? Where or who do we seek to run to? How are we strategizing for joy?

Low seasons can and do seep into so many crucial areas, affecting our vision, our decisions, our productivity, and our relationships. I've learned through my own share of painful seasons that His joy strategies are the strongest, most incredible substances that you've ever built upon. They can go the distance. They can carry the weight. You can build solidly on them. They help you switch from defensive to offensive.

Could I offer some thoughts for a more permanent footing-- perhaps a framework for joy?

  • Know His heart

He is willing and ready to give us the truth that we need when we need it. John 16:13 reminds us that "...He will guide you into all truth..." He is the Wonderful Counselor. His counsel is tested, pure, and right. (Psalm 19:7-9) A few years ago, my goal was to discover the true biblical meaning of BLESSED and it was mind-blowing to discover the depth and richness of HEART that he wants to bestow on us. Know that His heart towards you is to bring answers to your needs and desires.

  • Know your heart

In current culture, we are seeing like never before the importance of soaking ourselves in truth. When Scripture talks about speaking the truth in your heart (Psalm 15:2), it is guiding us to the key fact that our hearts hold and capture beliefs. In this, we see a very real and concrete physiological concept--that of holding, pondering, mulling over, grasping, and owning truth. This has been proven scientifically to be powerful in shifting from depressive states to positive states. What is your inner dialogue? It is also critical for us to examine who we are spending time around, what we are watching, reading, listening to, and what occupies our thought life.

  • Ask for help

Significant times of breakthrough can often happen when we embrace the help of someone who is filled with the truth of Scripture, strong in mind, body, and spirit, and is positioned to come alongside us. Bring the struggle to light in some solid companionship. Additionally, if you find yourself in a strong place, but you know someone who is struggling, please make sure they know that if they need someone to talk to you will be there for them.

  • God's plan for wholeness may surprise you

Trust Him. He has strategies for you - mind, heart, and body. It is amazing to note the diversity in objects God uses to heal people. He used an undesirable river (2 Kings 5:10-12), a minced fig, (Isaiah 38:21), clay (John 9:11), the hem of His cloak, (Luke 8:44), and so many more to individually guide those He loved to wholeness. He has a plan for freedom and strength for you. It may look different than you expect, but your wisest question to Him may well be:

"God, what is Your move for me?"

Hear Him; hear His peace over you. Trust His love. Speak His truth into your heart, don’t rely on pretty instagram quotes. And know this, friend: God is right there beside you. Always has, Always will be.

Mel I’Anson