by Laura Boswell
TV Presenter & Script Writer, CBN Europe
Beauty is only skin deep. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. All these are famous quotes that encourage us not to discern a situation by how it may appear on the surface. Today we delve into the topic of joy and what it means to discover a joy that is far more than just a feeling.
Beneath the Surface
I have always been a very outwardly joyful person. I’ve always wanted to be friendly and approachable, as well as smiley to those around me.
It has always been a huge part of my personality. As such, it has been easy for people to assume what they have seen on the outside is how I have felt on the inside. Unfortunately, that has not always been the case.
I was saved back in 2002 following a lady sharing the gospel with me on a work placement from Uni at a Christian radio station. I was convicted of my sin and my need for Jesus and gave my life to Him in a prayer.
Shortly after that I had a troubling time with my thought life. Previously, as a teenager, I had experienced fear and irrational thoughts, but it seemed (after salvation) to crank up a gear. Suddenly I found life became more challenging and I was unable to mask what was actually going on inside.
At the time I think I was very caught up in my feelings and believing that my thoughts were important. The more I dwelt on them, the worse I felt.
What God has taught me over the years is that He is in control, and we can choose to be joyful! That doesn’t mean we need to understand everything first. As soon as I have engaged with the thoughts and fear has grown, it always creates more thoughts and more fear.
Suddenly I found life became more challenging and I was unable to mask what was actually going on inside.
More Than Just Scripture
God says in His word: ‘Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 4-6).
I used to think this was a nice scripture, but it spoke against what I was doing and as I had so many reasons to be worried, it couldn’t apply to me. What God has taught me is that the truth is true regardless of what we are thinking about. If God says don’t worry, then we don’t need to worry because He is in control of everything. It’s like when I have a thought and worry, I will think “but there’s this and what about that?” God is saying, you don’t need to worry about that! It is literally a case of letting go of the control and trying to figure it out and instead leaving it with God because He wants me to trust Him and to live at peace.
When we obey God there is such freedom and peace. It reminds me of a child just trusting their parents for everything. They don’t worry about their needs being met. They don’t even need to think about it. That is what God wants for us. Trusting Him like a child.
There is such power in God’s word and when we stand on it, we will bear fruit from doing what it says. When I sense fear attached to a thought, I now know that I can stand on that scripture and not even let the thought land because God does not want me to worry.
It is living life in peace today and not allowing fear to rob me of it. Joy is the fruit of that.
The Bible says in Nehemiah 8:10: “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” When we choose to be joyful, He can lift us up from the pit we are in.