A lack of joy or peace

Donal in his Sunday Scriptures posted this:

I am not a joyful person. Never have been. Just not part of my overall personality. Not that I cannot be happy from time to time, but I have never really been joyful as it is properly understood. I’ve long recognized my trouble finding joy is a real weakness of mine, but its been one that I’ve not been able to quash. I have tried for a long time, and will continue yet to embrace a spirit of joy. God willing I will find it eventually.

I want to give this a post on its own because this is something that God has been revealing to me over the past few months about myself. Not that I walk without joy and/or peace, but there are things that have held me back from experiencing His joy and peace.

Remember that joy is directly related to grace and forgiveness. Joy and peace are not part of our personality, but it comes from God.

We often say to women who become Christians that were formerly promiscuous that just because they are a new creation in Christ doesn’t mean the past has gone away. In this, we don’t mean that the blood of Christ hasn’t covered all sins. But it is our perception of ourselves that we continue to cling on to things in our past. We allow things to continue to shackle our soul and our mind.

Fear is a big one. Why are we, as Christians, still so afraid to speak about Jesus in public. Or how about for nice guys to go and ask a Christian woman out? Or reveal things in our past to others?

In the same vein you can think of confession as like this. Even by just talking to a priest revealing your sin before God and man, there is a freedom that is present from allowing the chains to fall off of yourself. You’re not accepting God’s grace again because we have already received it once and for all, but confession(s) are for us to allow us to walk fully into what God has for us. Who can’t be joyful and peaceful after confession? A weight on us has been lifted, and it’s not because God has suddenly forgiven us again. He already has as Christians.

For me there has been many things in my life that I’ve held onto maybe in terms of false humility or pride that I should have give to God a while back. And confessing them to Him allows freedom to happen.

It’s often the case that as serious Christians we are our own worst critics. If I sin I know I have the grace of God. But I sometimes catch myself internally beating myself up because of that sin. “I should’ve known better” or “I should have been able to overcome this temptation” or “I’m weak.”

I know God has forgiven me but have I forgiven myself? 

Self condemnation is a really bad thing to walk in because that is not what Christ came for or how He wants us to live. The bitterness of the lies of feminism and that which we have seen in the manosphere are a hard pill to swallow. Can you forgive others and forgive yourself?

The past is the past, and I can’t change the mistakes I’ve made. I can only learn from them. But I know that I have received His grace and I know that He does not condemn me and I shouldn’t condemn myself either. That is why I walk with peace and joy. Yet, still bearing the consequences of my actions if any in the present and the future. God is good.

Thus, deep down I know that if I am not experiencing peace or joy within my life there are chains that I have allowed to bind me where God has already broken them loose. We sit in those chains asking God why won’t He take them off, but He has already done so. Stand up out out of them and walk free.

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10 Responses to A lack of joy or peace

  1. donalgraeme says:

    This is, as per your norm, a deep post that deserves careful thought. One thing I would like to note is that the Catholic Church treats confession as a sacrament. A penitent heart alone is enough to warrant forgiveness. Confession is more than that- it is a special grace God gives us, a blessing that allows us to move beyond our sins towards a renewed life in Christ. Sometimes we really do need someone to tell us that we are forgiven, and to move onward.

  2. @ Donal

    Thanks for the clarification on that!

  3. donalgraeme says:

    @ Deep Strength

    You are welcome, although I was giving that from my pathetic memory on the subject. I might not have been right. At least so far as Reconciliation or Confession is concerned. But I do remember that Sacraments are all considered to be gifts of power coming forth from God, through Jesus Christ His Son.

    Here is something I pulled from the Catechism:
    “The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.”

  4. Looking Glass says:

    There is forgiving others, then there is forgiving yourself. It’s actually the latter that is harder for most people, even if it’s rarely said.

    As for Joy, I think one of the traps we can get ourselves into is that “Joy” and “Happiness” are very different. You can choose an emotion, but Joy comes by the Spirit. You can’t force the emotion by actions. There are, however, actions you can take to make it more likely. But that requires time alone with God. Emptying out your Soul to the Lord does do wonders.

  5. aquietmimic says:

    Confession is considered an important sacrament in Catholicism as Christ gave his disciples power to forgive other peoples sins (John 20:21-23)

    Grateful to see that I am not alone in struggling to find Joy in this life. Bless you men.

  6. Jenny says:

    I struggle with self-control, it took me forever to figure out it was a fruit of the spirit and not something I could do myself. It is a gift, so instead of striving, I began praying for it. God has been good.

  7. Elspeth says:

    Like Donal, I have never been a joyful person. And yes, the root of that is a lack of awareness or refusal to accept the grace and forgiveness of God. Contrary to popular Internet lore, you don;t have to have committed some grievous, nasty by sphere standards sin to suffer with this handicap.

    In recent years I have like Sis, began to understand that joy is a gift, a grace given by God when we stop thinking we can conjure it up and ask Him to help us with it. And while I have not reached that place commanded in Thessalonians 5:16-18, (Always be joyful, never stop praying, give thanks in everything), I find that joy is present at the most unlikely of times and it bubbles up in the most amusing and delightful of ways.The best part is that my children see it, which is a blessing.

    I second Jenny’s prescription: pray, pray, pray. God is faithful.

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