finding joy in the dark times

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I woke feeling out of sorts, restless and agitated. Insomnia and pain often affect my mental state, because the weariness they bring begins to permeate everything like a dense heavy cloud. Maybe you’ve felt that way, too?

On days when light and joy seem to be absent and our souls feel downcast, we have to make a deliberate effort to pursue joy. Because joy hides behind every dark cloud and we see it when we search it out. It’s a matter of the will, of mind over matter, Spirit-led living over flesh-induced feelings.

Rest and joy are closely aligned, dependent on one another, especially resting in God. Our days of extra busyness, weakness and weariness are speaking to us of a pressing need to pause, a soul drive toward silence and stillness instead of a crash-and-burn-style of living leading to illness.

This isn’t just for those of us who have M.E and chronic illness; this is for everyone. Because we all live in a fallen world which can drain every ounce of vitality out of us if we let it. The words below were whispered to me in prayer. My hope and prayer is that they will speak to you, too…

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“Rest isn’t an emotion or a feeling, though at times it will seep into your mind. But the kind of rest I offer you is one that sinks into your spirit and lingers. It’s a turning toward Me, a continual attitude of trust, no matter what your circumstances might be.

It’s a gift of grace which brings inner peace and Holy Spirit ease to accomplish all I call you to do. It’s an understanding which fires you to willingly live close to Me. It’s knowing Me as a loving, caring Father who always has your best interests at heart.

The more you learn to lean on Me, the more you will be held secure in every way, because I created you to live in dependence on Me. Your greatest and deepest joy will be in receiving My rest as it permeates every aspect of your life.

You will grow more aware of My presence watching over you like a protective mother hen. You will have strength and equipping for everything. You will have deep inner peace that remains. Your whole life, memories, past, present and future will be seen as safe in My hands.

Relax. I know everything about you, My child. You can rest in My infinite love, tender compassion, mercy and forgiveness. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to give you. Come and rest with Me. Pour out your fears and tears. Allow Me to soothe them all, to hold you close and whisper words to help and heal. Come now…”

A prayer

Gracious Father,

Forgive us for being so weak and easily led by our feelings. for falling into anxiety and worry, frustration and fear, stress and distress, for neglecting to spend quality time with You.

Thank You for your words of hope and reassurance. We receive them into our spirits. May they take root and begin to fill every hurt, wounded and aching part of us.

Only You know the heaviness of the human heart, and only You can show us how to live fully and freely again.

Help us to sense deep holy joy within, hovering on the margins of our days, always readily available in Your presence.

Amen

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Welcome to #day7 of #write31days of journeying into joy. Thank you for being here! 

As we examine those things which steal our joy, may we also discover how to regain it again by resting in God.

 

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Getting off the treadmill

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‘Pausing’

In a frantic 24/7

treadmill life, it’s no heaven

to have stress, strain and strife

Because we gradually learn

how it makes us crash and burn

In order to still our body and mind

we may have to be cruel to be kind

Discover what helps or hinders us

as we step off the ‘always busy’ bus

And as we try to do our part

we’ll find the calm of the Father’s heart

is found in silence and in rest

In listening, pausing, seeking His best

Placing ourselves into His hands

Yielding our motives, goals and plans

Reading the wisdom in God’s word

Absorbing its truth seen and heard

Finding peace-pauses in each day

to simply be, breathe, and pray

Then stillness will soothe, fill and flood

our hearts with God’s peace and love

©JoyLenton2014

On a weary, M.E symptom-heavy day when I’ve spent several hours in bed, I’ve wished I could press ‘pause’ on the thoughts in my head. A body can be experiencing a degree of rest and ease while a mind spins like a hamster on a wheel. However, some thoughts are welcome ones and I am grateful to God for the unexpected gift of words to write and share on such a day as this.

Joining here with Kate and other ‘feel the fear and do it afraid, brave and bold, no worries about perfection’ writer friends for #fiveminutefriday You are very welcome and warmly encouraged to join in. This week’s prompt is:’Still’

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While we are waiting

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Life offers us scope to savour the moment. Pauses abound with potential and promise, breathing places where we can exhale the cares of the day.

There are those who deliberately seek sacred spaces and long for snatched time to enjoy them.

Though in a continually busy 24/7 society where instant gratification reigns, and express delivery is the order of the day, we find ourselves easily upset at any delays to our schedules.

Waiting for anything or anyone can feel like a monumental waste of time.

Our fingers tap impatiently when the PC/mobile/tablet etc fail to perform as they should.

Deep sighs accompany delays of every kind. We want to access this and we want it NOW.

Isn’t the latest technology meant to shorten the time we spend doing things? It only seems to further our impatience when it fails to work aright.

But what if we tried to view things differently? Could we find ways to enjoy and appreciate the stop-gaps in our lives?

I was inspired to write the poem below during a recent stint in a hospital waiting-room.

Rather than keep my eyes glued to a screen I prefer to ponder all I am seeing. It has the added benefit of reducing anxiety.

People-watching is a great interest of mine and I indulged discretely, not in a nosy sense but simply because people are fascinating.

We all share a common humanity and many common experiences, even if our reactions to them may differ greatly.

If we allow our souls to quieten we can see and hear far more than usual in the secular and sacred realms.

This is the result of a few minutes watching while I waited…

‘Waiting’

They stride

bold, with daunting efficiency

heels clip-clopping hard

down corridors long

hiding their frail humanity

beneath a veneer of

swift strong competency

While we

hold ourselves submissive

Seek to hide

our strain and stress, pain,

weakness and duress behind

a meek subordination

to their authority

But inside

we quake and tremble

pretending to be

patient patients

while in the thrall

of medical disinterest

or rapt attention

We abide

in whispering gloom

furtive glances

checking of watches

time slowed to a crawl

anxious for the call

in this waiting-room

©JoyLenton2014

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I have written more about the challenge of seeking the sacred in the in-between seconds of life in ‘Minding the gap’ over at ‘Words of Joy’. It was inspired by reading Jeff Goins’ book, ‘The In-between:Embracing the Tension Between Now and The Next Big Thing’.  I can highly recommend it as a great  source of insightful thoughts on this topic.