Joy: Thursday

When I was an RA at Liberty, there were certain weeks each year that were extraordinarily busy.  I had eight meetings on a normal week, plus three services we were required to attend.  But then there were certain weeks, when there was a campus-wide event, or some ongoing training or something, when the number of required appearances could spike to fourteen (not including class).  Then there were every-day responsibilities, like doing curfew checks each night, meaning we couldn’t go to sleep before 12:30am.  It was particularly difficult during exam weeks, because of all the homework and the administrative work that accompanied the end of a semester – girls moving out of the dorms, etc.  One of our weekly meetings was RA group, where we would meet with all the other RAs in our building and have a small group Bible study – so that we could be could be encouraged and “filled up.” There were days that I would drag my feet out the door to go, but I was always (or almost always) glad I did. I remember one RA group well; it was my senior year during one of those particularly busy weeks.  We walked in and as we were pouring ourselves coffee and loading up on snacks, our small group leader said, “Tonight we are going to read some Psalms together.  I want us to reflect on them, and then we’re going to talk and relax together, because I think that when we get really busy, the first thing to go is joy.”

I’d never considered that my joy was gone, but when I surveyed my week and took a quick inventory of my thoughts and emotions, she was right on the money.  I believe that hard work is good, and that stress can be good, and that to be busy serving and doing something with your life is good, but I had gotten it all twisted.  I’d become bogged down in the details, and certainly wasn’t channeling very much joy.  Busyness and stress are thieves of joy.

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Christmas, like an exam week for an RA, is a particularly busy time.  The holiday is filled with good things like opportunities to spend time with family that we don’t often see, opportunities to serve people and to give, opportunities to celebrate with friends, and opportunities to fellowship with your church family.  There is cooking, cleaning, shopping, visiting, and organizing to be done.  But during this particularly busy season, I encourage you to take inventory of your thoughts and emotions often, to make sure that busyness hasn’t stolen your joy, as it tends to do.

Take time today, right now, to sit at Jesus’ feet.  Be continually filled with joy during this joyous season.

“When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.”  [Psalm 94:19]