Follow Peace

Written By Kim Johnson – immysister.org

One of the things I am learning in my middle age, is to follow peace. Trust me, I didn’t arrive at this epiphany overnight. It came from my constant struggles with not being able to control the things happening in my life and my being stressed out because of it.
Sisters, I use to be a mess. Racism, situations and disappointments constantly un-nerved me and threw me off balance. I let things get me so bent out of shape that I would internalize them. If someone said something to hurt my feelings I would get upset, and then later pissed off with myself because I didn’t tell them off. Looking back, I was like a tree whose limbs were constantly being blown back and forth by the wind. Any and everything took me out of peace and my comfort zone.

Today, my blood pressure is so much better. I got it. I understand that God is in control of all things. I don’t pay attention to my emotions; and I know now, that when things don’t seem right, don’t react, go immediately into prayer and wait on God to tell me what to do next. That feeling inside of my gut, or should I say the Holy Spirit, has never let me down. All I have to do is listen to my body and follow peace.

The Bible Dictionary tells us that, in order to have peace within our spirit, we need to have an “inner tranquility; and a combination of hope, trust, quiet in mind, and soul, brought about by reconciliation with God” (Youngblood, 1985, p. 960).
Basically what I am saying sisters is, if you want to follow peace (Hebrews 12:15), “you must rid yourself of un-forgiveness, let go of your feelings of resentment, lay down your “right” to get even, know that God got it and allow God to deal with the things that bother you” (Stanley, 2009, p. 1471).

Sistah to Sistah do you have inner tranquility? Are you quiet in your mind and spirit? Do you trust God and know that there is nothing He can’t resolve?
Are you following peace?

References
Stanley, C. F. (2009). Life Principles Bible. In C. Stanley (Ed.). Thomas Nelson.
Youngblood, R. F. (1985). Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, Tennesse: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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Get Your Joy Back

Get your joy back

Written by – Kim Johnson, Author of I Am My Sister (Women helping Women) @ immysister.org

I feel so wonderful…fa la la la la…fa la la la la…I have to laugh as I write these lyrics, because it took me so long to get here. I finally got my joy back and it ONLY took eight years. How terrible is that. Gosh! How did I allow myself to fall into that rut anyway, and worst, how did I let someone steal my joy for so long. Sigh…If I had to do it all over again I would have a discussion with my younger self; I would say, “Kim, keep your eyes on God, don’t pay attention to your emotions, and definitely don’t pay attention to what you are feeling. Above all else, Trust God, He will work it out for you.”

Like it or not, so often we let things, people, or situations steal our joy. We could be with a group of people celebrating a joyous occasion or surrounded by sheer beauty, and yet, be miserable and sad. At least that’s how it was for me when my husband and I broke up. I cried everywhere I went, and nothing made me feel better. I even tried several techniques that were suggested as well, but nothing could snap me out of the sadness I felt. I journaled, I surrounded myself with loved ones and friends, but still I couldn’t get my joy back. And then, one day, I had an “Ah Ha” moment, and a light bulb went off in my head. As I recall, I was sitting in my car crying, when I thought of Jesus, nailed to the cross. I thought of the pain and suffering He went through and how He felt when He yelled out to His Father. And yet, no matter what He was going through, He would not have changed His situation for nothing in the world, because He loved us that much (John 3:16). And yet, there I sat, contemplating the worst, over a broken heart (in hindsight) how ungrateful was I.

At any rate, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have tried to handle the heartbreak without asking God for help. That was a hard lesson that I had to learn, but I know now, that there can be joy in the middle of pain.

In the bible it says the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; and that Jesus came so that we may have life abundantly” (John 10:10).  As such, there are steps that we can use to regain our joy:

1. Ask God to help you (Psalm 51:12). God say’s we have not because we ask not. How can He help you if you don’t ask Him? (James 4:2).

2. Praise God while you are crying and feel sad.

3. And consider it all joy, when you go through things (James 1:2). In Charles Stanley Life Lessons, he writes, “there is nothing joyful about trials in and of themselves. The key to finding joy in adversity is where we place our focus. If we concentrate on our circumstances, we will become disheartened and discouraged. But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we learn to rejoice in our difficulties, because God has promised to work through them to strengthen our faith, bring us into closer fellowship with Himself, and teach us endurance” (pg. 1475).

4. Also sister, know that “when darkness covers your heart, you may think you have no hope, but just as the sun disperses the nighttime at daybreak, your circumstances will change at the Lords command. So wait in hope and trust Him, because His joyous triumph is surely on its way” (Charles Stanley Life Lessons, pg. 645 & Psalm 30:5).

Basically, what I am telling you sisters is, “know that the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). You need to know that the Lords happiness is in showing love to all who believe in Him. Therefore, whenever [you] feel weak and helpless, [you] need to remember that God will step in and deliver you. Then His joy really will be your strength” (Charles Stanley Life Lessons, pg. 567).

Sisters to sister do you hear me? Joy is so very easy to lose; do you know how to keep it?

 

References
Stanley, C. F. (2009). Life Principles Bible. La Habra: Thomas Nelson.