How Do You Move from Crying on the Inside to Authentic Peace & Joy?



When I wasn’t walking strong in my faith, I lost sight of my value. That’s not hard to do in a world that pushes and pulls us. Everyday we’re reminded of the destructions of our planet. Of the vitriol nature of politics in this country. My university students are suffering more and more from anxiety and depression because we’ve splashed them with illusion on social media, have drilled into them since the womb that they must be the best of the best of the best according to worldly standards, and we’ve raised and taught them that to be uncomfortable means they need to be on medication. We’ve taught ourselves that if we are uncomfortable something is terribly wrong.


It can become encumbering, taxing, vexing, oppressive, and too much to carry when we look “out there” and try to pull strength from person-made sources and perspectives. When I made a decision to begin studying my Bible because I’d grown to hate my life and a lot of the people in it, in addition to having developed a root of irritation that blossomed every day over every little thing, anxiety, depression, and despair were a part of my daily existence.


I sought out dysfunctional movies to make myself feel better, feel normal. I turned too often to wine or champagne to alleviate layers of unresolved issues that had built up, too much for one person to carry, but I’d allowed others to influence me to believe that I was a problem because I wasn’t perfect. I towed the line, and if I slipped the Pharisees were quick to step in. I bought into the big familial scam that plagues many of us. The finger pointing. The gossiping. The character assassinations by an ex-spouse and people I thought were my friends eagerly lapped it up.


That was a dark and tough time. When you look good, well put together, and you’re producing – going to work, assuming responsibilities, but can’t wait until Fridays and hate Mondays…that’s a big clue something is terribly wrong. We are not called to live for two days out of the week. That only on those days can we truly experience joy. Probably what was hardest was pressure from family to be perfect, to make a good income, take care of everyone’s needs, fly to them (expensive), make things convenient for them, which I did to avoid being judged further – it didn’t work anyway.


Family can be downright cruel. So, in order to get myself well, I stopped communicating, stopped seeing some family members. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was needed. The negativity in which people were engaged was one endless cycle, everyone involved. It often seems like the biggest haters cut others down in order to lift themselves.


When we’re not strong in yourself, when we’ve been put through the ringer, feel like we’ve totally screwed up – more than once, we sink and sink and sink. Once of the first things I heard that helped me tremendously was that I am not called to mourn my past. That Jesus forgives, and when I seek forgiveness with a humble heart, He forgives me. And that’s it. No more bringing it up. He keeps no record of wrongs once I’ve asked forgiveness. If it comes back into my head, that is energy I am giving it, not God. And I have so learned not to give the negative energy. That I do indeed have control over that.


A powerful scripture I learned comes from Romans 8:33, “If God is for me, who is (s)he who is against me?” That was incredibly freeing for me. I’d given people way too much power to skewer me whenever they needed an emotive outlet for their own misery.

And, really, if GOD is for me, what does it matter who is NOT for me. He is supreme authority. Once I got that deep in my bones then I began to study my identity in Him, as opposed to how others treated me, like family. I soon found out that He rejoices in me. I am a royal diadem in His hand, protected, cherished, revered, loved unfailingly. He takes great delight in me.


Scripture tells me this. I call those truths up every day throughout the day. And therein lies the power. They ARE truths, not false assumptions. I dig in deeply to those truths, make them my banner day after day after day after day after day. The difference between then and now, I truly feel all those things, know that I am worthy of all those beautiful truths. That is beautiful, powerful, unshakable self-identity. There aren’t a whole lot of people walking around with that. Trust me. Most people put on a fine act. I was one of them. Operative word – was. That was several years ago, and I get stronger each day in Him.


I honestly never thought I could feel so good without medication. Cleaning “house” is hard work, but it’s so worth it. Each day is filled with hope, joy, peace, good decisions, beautiful energy, and the sleep – my gosh, I sleep so well these days. I’d gone for years without sleeping peacefully. Boy, I do now. All these incredible elements and more just by deciding to allow the Holy Spirit to begin a good work in me. I cringe to think if I would have listened to the person who smirked, “Oh, you’re into that Jesus thing?”


Why, yes, I am. How’s that misery and negativity workin’ for ya?


I’ve spoken with individuals who are miserable. Individuals who operate okay…even just barely okay. They do not have much self-love, if any. They have no relationship with Christ. They are miserable. And when I try to explain, after they want to know what my “secret” is, my beautiful relationship with Christ, oh boy. Give them anything but Jesus, even in their own misery they’ll opt to keep, thank you very much, a life filled with dullness and despair. That is an example of powerful dark forces at work to make an individual choose to stay in their own misery than begin a loving, transformative relationship with Christ. And Christ doesn’t force Himself on anyone. He waits to be invited. And if not wanted, he doesn’t stick around.


Have a beautiful day.


Noel

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