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 Finding True Joy

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Molly
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PostSubject: Finding True Joy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:50 pm

So I thought I'd share a testimony with you guys... it's not my testimony of how I came to Christ, but it is a testimony of how God has worked in my life, and so I thought I'd share it.
So, when I was little, I was legalistic. I'd do things just because my parents, especially my dad, who I really looked up to [and still do], did it. I'd believe things because my dad believed them. I was pretty strict, too... just with little things, I'd judge people because they did something that I thought was wrong. Or they believed something that I didn't; or they didn't believe something that I did. Anyone who didn't believe like I did I judged. I realize now how so wrong and hypocritical I was, but at the time, I was so blind to it.
As I got older, I wanted so badly to make a difference for Christ. I wanted to obey God in everything. Everyone around me saw Christ in me, because I was just so on fire for Him. I was strong-willed and very set in my ways. There was no turning back for me. If I did something, I did it full force... with everything I had.
And so I began reading devotions everyday and having my own quiet time with God. I got so many devotions through email that I read every day. I read and wrote a chapter of the Bible every day. I started a Bible Study with my friends' help. I tried starting a Bible Study online. I went to church every week. I went to youth group every week as well. I'd talk to my friends about Christ a lot. I'd only listen to Christian music, and I listened to it a lot. God was pulling me out of my comfort zone in different areas, and I followed Him.
Eventually, I just got burned out. Everything I was doing became stale to me. I didn't get any joy out of reading the Bible anymore. I didn't get any joy out of talking to God anymore. I didn't get any joy out of talking about God anymore. I didn't get any joy out of Bible Study, out of church, or out of youth group anymore. I didn't get any joy out of devotions, and to put it bluntly, I didn't want to do them, I didn't want to pray, I didn't want to read the Bible. I was burned out and dehydrated. I also became depressed. Yet I put on a fake "mask" and became someone that I really wasn't. Everyone around me thought that I was strong, that I had it altogether. Some even thought I was perfect! If they only knew the hypocrite I was being... the fake person I had become.
I didn't know who I was anymore. I felt like joy had just left me. My heart ached. I was depressed. I was so distant - I didn't feel like doing anything, because I didn't get joy out of anything. And the entire time I felt guilty - so guilty - because I wasn't doing anything for God. I knew that I was wrong, but I felt so stuck. I would get defensive over little things. I would get angry over stupid things. There was so much built up inside of me that I needed to get out, but I didn't know how. I didn't know who to talk to. I didn't even understand my own situation, so why would anyone else? Friends came and talked to me about their problems, yet I couldn't go to them about mine because I had put out this front that I was 'perfect, a good Christian girl, put together' and I really wasn't. I felt like such a total failure.
I couldn't take it anymore. I talked to my mom and just told her everything that I could, but I didn't quite understand myself or my situation, so I didn't know how to tell her. I felt like I had nothing at all figured out in life. I couldn't make any decisions, and at the time, I had to make a lot. I was so frustrated, depressed, and just down on life... and yet no one knew. I didn't know who I was. I didn't know who I was supposed to be. I didn't know who I was meant to be. I didn't know who God wanted me to be... I didn't even know how to live because even though I knew the difference between right and wrong, it was like I had become blind to it. I didn't understand what was going on in my heart, but it was definitely something and I didn't know how to deal with it. I had no joy at all.
Just the other day I was faced with another hard decision. I didn't know what to do and so I decided to go to my parents with it. They didn't offer much help at first, just told me to do what I felt I should. Well that didn't help! I finally just spilled everything... I cried and told them how I've been feeling. Some of it didn't come out right because I was confused, but I got it out. And my heart felt so light afterwards. They helped me to realize that I had been doing too much spiritually and that I had become burned out. I needed a change. And so I decided to take their advice and took a few steps to get my life back together...
This next couple of days I'm going to try to get creative and do different things with God. Take walks with Him, maybe. Instead of having a routine with Him, I want a relationship again. Instead of feeling like I have to read a certain passage of Scripture because that's what my devotion is about, I'll read what I feel led to read.
Good works will not get me to Heaven. I used to "preach" that to people, and now look at me. I am a hypocrite. Good works follow Salvation. And even though I got saved at 6 and had a very close relationship with God, I began to put good works before my relationship with God. And eventually I became burned out and depressed.
I realize now that true joy comes from having a relationship with God. The rest will follow. I'll also get joy from doing things for God. When I am dead center in the middle of God's will for my life, I will find personal fulfillment.
I think I've finally found joy. And it's not a feeling. It's a way of the heart. And it is so totally different from temporary happiness.
I praise God that He revealed all this to me before I went through the rest of my life only existing and not truly living.

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"Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm."
-Proverbs 4:25-26


Last edited by Molly on Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Finding True Joy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:01 pm

I love you Molly and I know exactly how you were feeling I'm still not quite sure I am to the poin that you are at. I feel like my spiritual life is such a routine and instead of God and I being in a dating relationship where you want to spend every minute together and you want to just sit on the couch and be with him our relationship is stale and boring. We get together every day just to say we did. I know how it feels to be close to him and I love it. Just tyo walk outside and be in constant conversation with him yet I stop myself becaus of my lazyness and self centered ways. Well here I go telling you all my problems again. So I guess I should go, but do know that a lot of people just see a great person in you. I speak for me and I'm sure other people I want you to feel like you can come to me if you need to . God made friends to help each other up when they fall and I never want you to feel like you have to hold all of our problems. So I am here if you ever need anything. Me
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PostSubject: Re: Finding True Joy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:52 pm

Thanks, Emily. I know you're here for me, and I am so thankful for that. I really do thank God for you. And don't ever apologize for talking to me about your problems! I love talking to my friends about their problems and things they're going through and need advice for, so please don't ever apologize for that. I love you too, Emily. Thanks for everything. I love you

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"Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm."
-Proverbs 4:25-26
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Darla

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PostSubject: Re: Finding True Joy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:38 pm

Molly that was amazing. It is so weird that you wrote this and how you felt because I have been feeling the same way. I don't want to read the bible anymore because i do it like i have to cross it off my list. So i just stopped doing it. And I even found myself not even talking to God somedays. And when I figured out I'd been doing that I got depressed. I got to the point where I would just cry for no reason. And I finally figured out it was becuase I hadn't been putting God in my life at all. It was like their was no room for him. And im trying to change that. And I love having you for me to talk to. You are the most amazing best friend a person could ever have. I'm blessed. When Pastor Bill said that he felt fulfilled this morning because he knows that he is in the center of God's Will because he preaches. I totally want that I am getting excited writing it now. I want what God wants for me. I want to feel Joy in all I do for Christ. Life is so short and I don't want to waste it. I love you!
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PostSubject: Re: Finding True Joy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:59 pm

I'm so glad you understand and can relate, Darla. I am so thankful that God gave me you to talk to about things... and that we understand each other. You are an amazing person.
I know exactly what you mean. I get excited, too... just to know that God has big dreams for me is so exciting! I mean ME... He has plans and dreams for me... I just need to fulfill them... and I will be living the most worthwhile, amazing life I could ever live, like Pastor Bill was saying.
Thanks for everything, Darla! I love you, too!

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"Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm."
-Proverbs 4:25-26
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Paris/Gods Angel

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PostSubject: Re: Finding True Joy   Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:41 pm

That was so great!!!!!!!!Good 4 you molly.
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Molly
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PostSubject: Re: Finding True Joy   Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:32 pm

Thanks, Paris. I love you
I want you all to know though that I didn't put this on here to get attention or pity or anything else... believe me. I just know how stuck and hopeless I felt, and so I wanted to share my story, hoping that it would help someone else.

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"Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm."
-Proverbs 4:25-26
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