Psalm 28:7 - The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song.
In beginning this writing, I decided to ask various women of different ages, backgrounds, and walks with the Lord what joy meant to them. And I heard everything from:
"That vast, feeling of awe, inspiration and wonder is how we should be all of the time about what God promises in salvation through Jesus. It encompasses who we are."
"A happy and light heart. A time / feeling when you feel like you are so in tune with Jesus."
"Smiles and laugher; knowing that even though things can get bad you know that you are completely free in Christ and you know that He will always be there for you; freedom in Christ."
"An internal peace separate from external circumstance."
I began to notice though their answers were different there seemed to be one common theme: regardless of your circumstances it's a choice. Most things that happen in my life I wouldn't say are my choice, but the way I react to them is. This reminds me of the story of Paul and Silas locked away in prison. They had been tortured in chains and left for the night. Paul knew God was calling him to Philipe, so why would something like this happen to them? I know if this was in the set-list for my obedience, I'd have some other ideas than what they decide to do next. They sang. They prayed to God and they worshipped Him. They prayed until there was a literal earthquake that opened every cell door and unlocked them from their chains.
God came through in a mighty way for those two, but imagine if they had sat there, whined, and asked God why. I don't know that the ending would have been the same. These men of God chose not to let their circumstances control them, they chose joy. In the book of the Bible this story comes from, the word joy is mentioned 18 times. I'd say that's something to take seriously, if Paul found it to be worth repeating.
I haven't been locked in any prisons, chained up, or prayed until the ground shook; but I have missed scholarship opportunities, lost many friends, and have received news that I wasn't ready to hear. I can still continue to carry the weight of those seasons of life, or I can see now that I was able to make simple changes in my education, meet amazing new people, and I've seen God's hand over situations I didn't understand. Even though I can see how many blessings came from these trials, I wish I had chosen a better outlook from the beginning.
Levi Lusko defines joy as something that turns your heart into an unassailable fortress, and it doesn't matter what else has you surrounded. Just like any weapon of choice, it doesn't matter what it is if you don't know how to use it. Whether you're in a season of change or routine, don't let Satan steal your time on earth with discontentment or worry. Fight the good fight with the worship weapon of joy.