Do you ever have those times in your life where there is a "theme"? You hear the same topic at church and on the radio and in your reading and in conversations with friends. I have been having such a theme in my life for the last couple of months. In a previous blog I wrote about what God was teaching me about being prepared so that I can regularly meet with Him. I have also shared with you about a book I have been struggling to read by Sally Clarkson, "Dancing With My Father." This morning all of these "coincidental" topics came together in a very real and tangible way.
I am at the tail end of the Clarkson book. A book that I would normally breeze through has taken me along a long winding road. Much like the road little Christian took in "Pilgrim's Progress." Some parts were easy to walk on, some parts I had to work on and other parts I had to sit by the road and rest - digesting all of the contents. I have been distracted by the very things that needed to be transformed. Condemnation, self-destruction, fatigue, hopelessness, faithlessness..... basically everything that was the antithesis of joy. For some reason, I had it in my head that joy looked like a cheerleader. If I really had joy I would be bubbly and smiley and always cheerful. But too often I find myself grumbling and with a sour look on my face. This can't be what God had in store for me.
And so this morning as I am piecing together all the ways this concept of joy has been presented to me, I realized that there is one important area that I have to grab hold of if I am ever going to live a life of joy. I must join my Father in the dance!
If I were at a gala or ballroom event I would spend a lot of time preparing myself for the main event. I would bathe and put on sweet smelling perfume. I would specifically choose my garments and shoes. I would spend time on my appearance and hair. I would grab the right accessories. I would make sure I knew how to dance. I would be prepared.
Not only do I need to be prepared, I must be willing to participate! Why would I dress for the ball and never join in and go out on the dance floor? That would be silly. Yet many times I have chosen to sit in my garments of righteousness, fitted with the shoes of the gospel and the knowledge of Christ and never allow my loving Father to take my hand and lead me out to the dance floor. I was afraid I would fall or look like the fool. I was afraid I didn't look good enough or others would laugh. The truth is that my Father is brilliant enough for the both of us. And the only opinion and approval I need is His. And He has given me everything I need to join Him in this dance.
There is so much more I am learning but the one theme that continues to come to my mind is that I am to be active. The Christian walk is not one of passivity. I am to put on the armor of God, I am to pray continually, seek God first, run the race, compete for the prize, turn away from evil, pursue righteousness.... when I am active in all these things, joy will well up inside of me and overflow out of His grace and mercy. I won't need to look like the Christian cheerleader I once envisioned. I will look like the daughter of the King- content, joyful, at peace and free.
There are so many more tidbits that I have gleaned from this book. I couldn't possibly share them all nor would I want to. You need to walk that road yourself and see how God speaks to you. But I would definitely recommend this book. In fact, I have already given a couple of copies to my friends. So many women are struggling right now. Consider buying one copy for yourself and one for a friend so that you can join each other on this journey to finding true and lasting joy.