Fruit of the Spirit Challenge: Thoughts on Joy

This is a guest post by Susannah Cafardi, NCC Barracks Row Saturday Small Group Director.

The past few months have been a fairly awesome season of life for me.  I’ve explored Boston and the Grand Canyon, spent time with my family along Lake Erie, and celebrated my niece and nephew’s first birthday, complete with all the food a hungry caterpillar could eat.  I’ve seen growth in established friendships and have even become more secure in my career: my first peer reviewed journal article will be published in early 2015.

Amidst the blessings, I am mindful not to let the happiness and emotion of the moment allow me to become complacent in my pursuit of true joy. When things are good, it's all too easy to coast along on outward successes and circumstances.

But joy that comes from God is unfailing and so much more powerful than anything that those circumstances can provide.  When a nagging injury keeps me off my expected race time finish, when the fourth person takes me out to lunch to tell me she’s pregnant, and when my transmission dies resulting in forty-five minutes of quality time with a chain smoking tow truck driver named Kirby, I realize that yesterday’s events are not enough to sustain me and that I need to dig in to find the unwavering joy that only comes from Him.

With that, I hope you’ll excuse me – I have some unhurried time with God that I need to get to.

Fruit of the Spirit Challenge: Scriptures on Joy

Joy isn’t something that I would say really characterizes my life, so I wanted to start the week by digging into the Scriptures to see what they say about it. As I was reading through the passages that Andrew put together for us, I took note of what each one said would bring joy:

Each day this week I’m going to read/meditate on the passages associated with one of these topics.

I started today with The Gospel and Salvation, and I can say that I have found joy in the midst of clogged sinks, water leaks, and little sleep.

In fact, much of my day was devoted to setting up for our baptism service tonight, and I’m not sure there was any better way to engage with the joy found in the Gospel and Christ’s saving work than celebrating with our baptism candidates.

Lessons Unlearned

I think there are some lessons that God has been trying to teach me over the past few months, namely, to trust Him and stop trying to control everything and consequently to have peace and joy in the midst of stressful circumstances.

Unfortunately, these were lessons that I did not learn. Buying our house was certainly a stressful ordeal. Things weren’t as smooth as I would have liked. Near the end of the process I realized that God was probably trying to teach me not to worry, to trust Him, and yet even after I realized this, I still worried, I still got stressed, and I failed to trust.

Sometimes I’m so dense.