Joy of the Lord … Right Now?  Really???

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Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10 

Confession.

I didn't wake up rejoicing in the Lord this morning.

I awakened abruptly from a nightmare about my husband's death.

I awakened to swelling and itching on my face even though I had my early morning allergy meds.

I took a second pill and I'm still reacting to whatever it is that is sending me into a high-histamine state.

How did I wake up?

Frustrated.

I felt myself saying, "Really?  The meds aren't going to continue working? I thought we had this under control."

And then letting out a massive sigh.

The verse comes to mind.

"The joy of the Lord is my strength."

This word 'joy' from the Greek euphrosyne is rooted in its meaning - to be in a 'right mind' - for us - the mind of Christ.

I'll readily admit that I was not Christ-focused when I awakened.

I let the inner workings of my mind follow the symptoms of my body - the physical reactions to my nightmare and my allergy flare.

It's taking effort on my part to move out of my frustration mindset.

It begs the question that my daddy used to say when problems arose.

"So, what we gonna do now, hey?"

I smile as I think of it.  After my dad died, my husband had taken to saying that when situations got tangled up.  Now it's echoing in my mind.

"What are you going to do now, deni?"

First of all - talk to myself a bit. You need to relax. Stress makes the allergy flares worse.

I tell myself, "It was only a dream.  It wasn't real. You aren't really completely alone."  (In my dream I was alone and lost.) 

Take a deep breath - and blow out the frustrations.  Again.  And again - until I feel a bit of calm taking over.

Turn on some music.

I have a "stress relief" playlist of classical music that helps me to relax.

Claire De Lune is my favorite at times like these.  For some reason that music helps me to breath deeply and visualize myself letting go of stress.

 (If any of you have seen the movie Ocean's Eleven, it is the music that is playing at the end of the film as the eleven stand in front of the Bellagio watch an amazing fountain display. Somehow, I visualize my frustrations being sprayed up into the air along with the water in the fountains.  A bit silly - but, it works.)

Now that I've calmed down a bit - I'm ready to come before God.  

Some days it takes me time to do that.  Perhaps I should be able to just jump in - but I seem to need to quiet my mind to even focus.

Then, I simply sit before God.  I continue to deep breathe.

Then,

"Ok.  I'm here, God."

That's it.

Then … I wait.

I wait for a verse - a song - something to come to mind.  I might be compelled to journal for a while.  I might need to pray.  If I sit long enough, I'll know.

I might even be told to write a blog post.

And by the end of whatever it is I am to do - I'm calmer.  I'm looking to God.  And I'm realizing that the joy of the Lord is, indeed, my strength.

Father God.  Thank you that You have given us the ability to move ourselves away from our frustrations. Help us to know ourselves well enough to be prepared for the times when we feel like saying, "What we gonna do now, hey?"  And thank You that You always answer - even if the answer is "Nothing.  Just sit with Me."  Amen and amen

This is a short clip from the end of Ocean's Eleven.  I realize the beginning doesn't show a lot of the fountain. I love the faces of the actors as they enjoy the fountain sprays.  Watch for the sigh of relief at the end of the clip made by Carl Reiner before he walks away. Then enjoy the fountain sprays!  There are other clips of the fountain on Youtube - but I love the combination of the music with the fountain display.  For my email readers, the clip is here.


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