I’m a fraud…

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Things are not always as they appear

I was at the local YMCA the other day, and a stranger approached me.

He came up to me, introduced himself, and told me that he had heard me talking to my friend.

I started playing the conversation back in my head. My friend and I talked about fantasy football, basketball, and some other just absurd and meaningless things.

What could this guy have to say to me?

  • “I heard your conversation, and I have to tell you that I am embarrassed to be an American. Both of you are idiots and should have your mouths sewn shut.”
  • “I tried to hold my tongue, but you picked up Tony Romo on fantasy football?” At this point, he would laugh hysterically, bend over, and start slapping his knee. “Hey guys, did you hear that? This guy (pointing at me) drafted Tony Romo…. Go get Frank and Steve, they have to hear about this absurdity.”
  • “I can’t believe how bad you are at basketball. I’ve never seen you play but based off what your friend was saying, you are horrendous.”

Any of the above would have been traumatizing but ultimately could have been a possibility. We are both idiots, I did draft Tony Romo, and I am pretty awful at basketball.

But what came out of his mouth next was unexpected. He said, “I heard you talking to your friend, and I can just tell you’re full of happiness.”

What? Happiness? Me?

I know what you’re probably thinking, “Yea that makes sense, Isaiah is always happy and bouncing off the walls. Doesn’t surprise me.”

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I get this happiness comment a lot and, although I can see where people are coming from, I have to admit, I feel like a total fraud.

When people tell me this I kind of laugh. They don’t know how anxious I get all the time. They don’t know how little faith I have at times. They don’t know my frustrations, pain, sorrows, or struggles. How can they look at me from one experience and say I’m full of happiness?

Okay, I don’t want to give off the wrong vibe. I am a very happy person. I guess what I am saying is that I still get confused as to why people constantly point it out.

In my head, I just think, “Yea, like,  I’m kind of, like, happy but so is, like, the person at that table so, could you, like, go tell them instead.” In my head, I’m also a ripped surfer, but that’s irrelevant. (I also got a lot of points taken off all my speeches in college for the use of ‘um’ and ‘like.’)

Q: What is relevant?

A: The difference between joy and happiness and why I think people notice it in me.

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Happiness vs. Joy

Happiness – Temporary and based on circumstance

Joy – Everlasting and NOT based on circumstances

When I was in elementary school, I got a brand-spanking-new Nintendo DS. It was awesome! I loved the thing, and it brought me so much happiness.

Until… bum bum bum… it broke.

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The whole front screen shattered. I panicked and did what I did best, hid it under my sister’s dresser. No one would ever look for it or find it there. Every so often, when my sister was away, I would go into her room and get the DS and look at it hoping that it would magically be fixed.

It was never fixed and I eventually had to find a way to tell them I broke the gift they gave me.

This is the thing about happiness. Happiness is awesome. Happiness is great. But, happiness will leave you and you will feel empty if you don’t have joy.

If I put all my happiness in a house, or a car, or a phone eventually it will depreciate and I will no longer have the same happiness that I once did.

If my house burns down then where would my happiness be at then?

If I come outside and the new car that I bought gets hit and ran then where will my happiness be?

If all my happiness is my phone and it get’s stolen, where will my happiness be then?

This isn’t just materials either. If you put your happiness in a relationship, what will happen when y’all break up? Where will your happiness be?

If you put your happiness in money, where will your happiness be if you lose your job or, God forbid, you have medical expenses or a huge bill? Where will your happiness be?

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*Tag in joy*

Once we realize happiness is only temporary and fleeting we must tag in joy. Joy is praising God during our suffering (James 1:2-4). We then begin to learn that our trust in God through trials is what gives us deep and genuine joy for the Lord.

We can begin to learn that even when we are not happy, we can be filled with joy knowing that we can talk to God about our unhappiness and He will give us His eyes (Psalms 73) (I wrote a little about this HERE).

I think this is the difference in why people approach me. I may not be temporarily filled with happiness but  I always have joy.

I believe that joy is a necessity for Christians and their walk with God through:

  • Focusing on the truth of who God is.
  • Praying and developing an intimate relationship with God.
  • Participating in fellowship with other believers to push you towards joy.

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“The Joy of the Lord is my strength”

We sing a song called ‘Joy of the lord’ at Fort Bend Fellowship. (Click Here to listen to it. It rocks and I recommend everyone jamming out to it.)

Here are some of the lyrics:

“Though tears may fall
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
Though my heart may fail
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
While there’s breath in my lungs
I will praise You, Lord

In the dead of night
I’ll lift my eyes, I’ll lift my eyes to You
When the waters rise
I’ll lift my eyes, I’ll lift my eyes to You
While there’s hope in my heart
I will praise You, Lord

CHORUS
The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord is my strength
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength”

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Here is my challenge for you this week: Let the Joy of the Lord be  your strength.

Are you dealing with a tough breakup? – Choose Joy

Are you struggling with depression from an uncontrollable circumstance? – Choose Joy

Are you having a bad day? – Choose Joy

Whatever it is… Choose Joy

Say it now if you have to, “I choose Joy.

If you want to have a joyful life it starts by conquering one fear, one struggle, or one problem at a time. It’s a small difference that makes a huge impact.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

 

 

 

 

Lyric Credit

Challenge Photo

Joy of the Lord Photo

Tag Team Photo

Red DS Photo

Joy vs. Happiness Photo

Sad and Happy Photo

I’m a fraud Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 comments

  1. Delyn Merce · September 23

    Excellent message! My circumstances (and other stuff) often fail to make me jump up and down with happiness–but I’m always joyful in the Lord…and on occasion, I walk around the house saying, “I’m really happy, Lord”. I think He’s glad to hear that, since I’m usually “murmuring” like the Israelites… God bless you!

    Like

    • isaiahterry · September 23

      Thank you for your encouragement! It’s cool to see how God uses a post to inspire or encourage other people and it comes back full circle to me. Bless you too!

      Like

      • Delyn Merce · September 23

        It really is a blessing of the Internet that God can link us to others who will inspire and encourage one another. Imagine Him thinking up this technology while He was busy creating the whole world….wowwww!

        Like

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