I’m a Christian. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. And I learned a song as a kid that went “I got the joy joy joy down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart.” And as a child, I was taught that we were to be happy. If we were happy, then that meant Jesus was with us. If I wasn’t happy, then something was wrong with me. I didn’t have enough faith, I wasn’t praying right. And then my parents separated. I prayed and prayed and prayed. And nothing. No Hollywood ending. No remorse and reconciliation. And so I endured a time of rebellion, of anger, of tears, or struggles and down right mad at all things including God himself.
And then I found Christ. I gave my life to him. I made him ruler of my life. And did I become happy? Nope. My life still stank at times. It was still a struggle. And then things got better. Now I was happy. Now I could see the blessings of God. Now I knew he was active. Then, in 2000 I started getting depressed. I ballooned up to over 400lbs. The scale at the college health center couldn’t even weigh me. It stopped at 400lbs.
I came across Psalm 13
How long, O Lord, will you forget me? Forever? (my translation)
And Psalm 6
O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint
And Psalm 88
O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.
These are not the happy words of the Bible I was told I had to believe. These were words of pain, of agony, of worry. These were the words I was screaming. I screamed them as my parents separated and divorced. I screamed them as I was angry at the world for the lot I was given.
We are connected mind body and soul. We are connected physically, emotionally and spiritually. When one hurts, they all hurts. Part of being healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually is to be honest with who we are. With what we feel. So many times we sing that song “I’ve got the joy joy joy down in my heart” so many times, trying to force our selves to truly believe it when instead our whole life at that moment is catawampus and we don’t know which end is up. And so many times when this happens we can lose focus.
I know for me when my wife was in her car accident, I started to loose focus on my health. I’ve prayed more than ever, I’ve pushed harder than ever and I’ve eaten more chocolate Pillsbury frosting than ever. By the spoon full. And this ain’t good. Not good at all.
A year ago or so, I came across this song. I stopped the car and cried.
I keep thinking of these words from the prophet Habbakkuk. Back in November, I did a series from the book. I took the idea from Lifechurch.TV. You can see their version here.
With all that was going on for Habakkuk, he declares
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, and though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, YET will I rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18
And so, in the thick of it all, in my desire to get back on track. In my desire to get into the groove once again of being healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I strive forward. Knowing that despite it all, I will rejoice in the Lord.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength
And I push on towards the goal. I dray my strength from the Joy of the Lord, not my own joy, not my own happiness, but the joy knowing that I have a faithful savior who purchased me with his precious blood saving me from the tyranny of the Devil. I know for certain that I can rest in him.
It’s tough. But I know I can do it.
Oh, and I gave up frosting for Lent.