When energy flags and health fails or fades, how do we keep joy in our souls? it’s something those of us with chronic illness have to consider, as well as all who are exhausted, stressed and depleted.
I know that having M.E and other health challenges has affected not only my ability to carry out daily tasks but also made me more prone to feeling downcast. Physical depletion can lead to soul weariness too.
Attainment of joy begins with recognising our joy stealers, those things that detract and distract us from God’s best for us. You can probably spot your own if you investigate a bit.
Here are some of mine:
- times when I neglect to prioritise prayer as much as I need to
- reading Christian books and blogs more than I read God’s word
- failing to pace well or take adequate rest periods
- missing small Sabbath pauses in my day/week where I listen to God
- forgetting to have one whole day a week devoted to switching off
- spending too much time on screens and on social media
- neglecting to make real life relationships a top priority
- pushing on regardless whenever some energy and strength are present
If I allow these things to drain me, my already severely limited energy levels dip alarmingly. Weakness and weariness invade my mood and attitude, leading to impatience and irritability – it’s not pretty. Maybe you can relate?
As we age, have health problems, extra life challenges and demands, we women, especially, can feel like faded flowers wilting with fatigue – though we often try to battle on regardless, don’t we?
Flowers are beautiful but fragile. They each have their season to shine, days when they delight with sweet fragrance and soft beauty, but all too soon they wilt, dry and die. A stark reminder of our own fragility and mortality, as well as our innate loveliness.
The roses above were photographed in evening light, making them glow and look lively, curled and furled as they may be. Day’s bright rays revealed their ragged state, now they exude an inner zest as they hang on to their life by a slender thread.
They speak to me of the way we begin to droop and stoop low with lengthening years, slump and slide with fatigue, but are still able to glow with an inner warmth that only time and experience can provide.
We shine still in our softer, radiant way, giving off the sweet fragrance of Christ’s gentle presence within, hints of His grace that grow more perceptible the longer we have known and grown in His love.
“[Growing in grace] they will still thrive and bear fruit and prosper in old age; they will flourish and be vital and fresh [rich in love and trust and contentment]; They are living memorials to declare the Lord is upright and faithful [to His promises]; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” ~ Psalm 92: 14-15 Amplified Bible
We have joy in knowing we never outgrow our purpose and usefulness in God’s Kingdom. We are His beloved children, growing in grace and joy the more we look to God for help and wisdom.
*to read more about the challenge of understanding and living well with chronic illness by listening to what God is saying to us, do pay a visit to my friend Bettie’s beautiful blog, because this month she is focusing on just that theme. Here’s the intro to her series*
Welcome to #day17 of #write31days Thank you for joining me as we journey into joy!
Feel free to share what you are learning in the comments below.