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Present Joy

by SHAWNA J. JOY Expectations Contentment Intercultural relationships Trust Fear Hope
Present Joy
“Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!”
Romans 15:13

In this season, I’ve been in my first serious dating relationship. It has been such a journey to navigate a cross-cultural relationship and to figure out how to do that on the field, away from family and my organization’s leadership. Not to mention the normal emotional roller-coaster of being in a new relationship!

I, like most women, want to figure out everything before it happens. I want to know what will happen next week, next month, next year. I’ve had to wrestle with that a lot in this situation. It’s scary to think of all the changes that could come, and I can so easily exchange the joy of the present for the fear of the future. 

Brene Brown talks about an emotion called “foreboding joy,” the feeling when things are so good that something bad must be just around the corner. You aren’t really able to enjoy the good because of a fear of what “might” or “could” come. 

If we are always looking to the future and what could happen, or to the past and what did happen, we often miss the joy of the moment we are in. Sometimes our present is difficult and we’re in trying seasons, but God gives us little moments of joy to celebrate in the midst of these times, if we will choose to see what He is doing. 

Let’s make it our aim to enjoy, “to take joy in”, the present, with all of its unknowns. This requires trusting and taking hope that God has a good plan for our lives and futures, no matter what may come. 

Closing Prayer
Lord, I release my past, present, and future into your hands. I choose to trust that you will work all things for my good tomorrow, so I can take joy in my present situation. Help me when I feel worried or fearful to put my hope in you, to take every thought captive, and to receive your joy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Video: Joy from The Bible Project This video lays out the Biblical meaning of joy, not dependent on our circumstances and rooted in trust in Jesus.
Video: Dr. Brené Brown on Joy: It's Terrifying Watch this video to understand more about foreboding joy and how gratitude and vulnerability go along with joy.
Question for Reflection

Is there any area of your life where fear is stealing your joy? What are some things you can do to choose joy?

Shawna J.
April 25, 2023

Yes, I struggle to trust God and take joy when the future is unknown. One way I can choose joy is by laying down my questions and fears of the future at the feet of Jesus. I can also thank Him for the things He is teaching me in the present.