How to Find Joy in the New Year
After being locked out of our rental car in a foreign country for three hours, my husband’s family and I made our way back to the beach house, determined to make the most of what had turned into a pretty lousy day. However, rain clouds and rapid wind speeds soon squelched the excitement we were trying to hold on to.
With 2018 being a hard year for many of us, our family had looked forward to this Caribbean vacation for months. We’d dreamt of basking in the sun, bathing in the healing saltwater and strolling the beach searching for shells. Instead, the first four days of our vacation forecasted rain — something unheard of in the islands outside of hurricane season.
What was so saddening about the weather was that just one day before, I’d pleaded with God to use the vacation to bring healing and joy to my life again after yet another horrible health flare. And now, instead of getting pain relief on the warm, sunny beach, I was getting more pain from walking on the dark, rainy and freezing beach outside our house.
C’mon now. Give a girl a break.
You would think, for being a woman who’s written a book called Into the Deep: Diving into a Courageous Faith and founded a ministry called She Found Joy, that I’d have this whole joy thing figured out by now. But the truth is, I don’t. The truth is, there are some seasons where I really do have to fight to find joy. Because it’s hard to find joy when your health just seems to keep getting worse. It’s hard to find joy when your problems are putting a strain on your ability maintain your ministry, house and marriage. It’s hard to find joy when you feel like the entire world is moving and passing you by while you are simply trying to hold on and survive the storm.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’re struggling to find joy because your company just decided they didn’t need you anymore and you’re wondering how you’re going to pay for your next car or house payment. Maybe finding joy seems impossible to you because of all the loss you’ve recently experienced.
Sweet sister, if you’ve ever struggled to find joy, there are two things I want you to know. First, you are not alone. And second, you don’t have to stay stuck there.
The morning after our drama-filled day, I woke up and shook my husband awake.
“Sweetie, I’ve decided I’m taking my life and this vacation back. Let’s get out there and make the most of what God has blessed us with,” I said as I strapped on my swimsuit. Three minutes later, the two of us were splashing and having fun in the ocean as he kayaked and I swam.
You see, finding joy in the darkest and stormiest situations is possible, but we must remember that the source of our joy does not come from worldly or material things — having the perfect vacation, more sunny days or a better paying job.
Jesus, every good and perfect gift He gives us, and the hope and promise of resurrection is our source of true joy (see John 15:11 and 16:20-22).
This world is bent for misery, but we can find joy when we fix our eyes on Jesus and rely on the promises found in His Word to help us get through whatever pain and suffering may come.
Our Savior is making all things new every single day, and while we might not always see or feel like He is restoring things in our lives, in this new year, we can find joy in knowing that He who promised is able and faithful and will never let us go.
Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the She Found Joy podcast and She Found Joy Ladies Night Out events. Gaskill is a storyteller who believes stories are powerful and loves how God uses them for His good. She writes and speaks to motivate and inspire others to experience abundant life in Christ. She is the author of Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith