… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. — Isaiah 61:3
God calls us to make divine exchanges: from mourning to dancing, from addiction to freedom, from death to life. ~ Stasi
Can you believe it’s already time for session three of the Unwavering: Living with Defiant Joy Online Bible Study? Last week we talked about the times we’ve been caught in the storms of life and how God interferes with us, and we thank you for sharing so openly and honestly in the comments and in the group! This week we’re looking at how we often run away from our problems — and how God is calling us to come out from the places that we have shrunk back from or tried to bury, so that we can trust Him more and rest in His love.
We need to face the truth of our lives with merciful honesty and linger in it long enough for the Holy Spirit to do His merciful, tender, and persistent work. ~ Stasi
When I was young I learned that I could stem pain or difficulty by being the goofball, by being the kid who served everyone with a smile, helped people with problems, and eased tensions by making people laugh. My sister was the challenger (high five to the enneagram type 8’s!), my brother was the preacher (e-type 9) , and I was the flibbertigibbet helper/enthusiast (e-type 2, wing 7). At family gatherings, I was the one who retold old funny stories, initiated corny kitchen dance parties, massaged awkward situations, and put out fires with silliness.
That took a little turn and grew into this belief, “If I can just keep everybody happy, it’ll be ok… I will be ok.” That particular lie — twisted into the personality God gave me — did not serve me well long-term, as you can imagine. Having everything “be ok” became my greener grass and I worked hard to get there.
But then my greener grass turned brown. And, I bet yours has too, in one season or another. The perfidity of greener grass makes it truly like chasing the wind. During that time, I lost my funny. I couldn’t be the goofball. It took a lot of time with the Holy Spirit and in God’s Word for me to laugh again, and to dance.
Real joy acknowledges the brown of life, embraces that I’m still loved by God when I can’t fix it, and sees God’s goodness and His sovereignty in it. Real joy, I believe, comes when I discover God the Father’s love and grace after the grass dies.
Fathering comes to its fullness in the One who calls Himself our Abba. ~ Stasi
You have a good, good Father. ~ Stasi
Now, I still tell jokes… but it’s not attached to my “ok-ness”. I still love others by laughing loud and easing tension. But, I’m learning that the One who rejoices over me, the helper/enthusiast, with singing is the One who I want to seek to please. (Zephaniah 3:17)
And, you’d better believe there are kitchen dance parties. Heck, yeah!
Sometimes when you feel like dancing, you’ve just got to dance. ~ Stasi
This week in your study:
1. Watch the video for session three on our study home page or live with other participants … Take notes in your study guide on pages 47-49.
2. Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 50-53.
3. Read Chapters 5-6 in Defiant Joy.
4. Enjoy your personal study this week on pages 54-63.
5. Come to the watch party on Monday at 8pm CST.
6. Join the conversations in our private Facebook group!
Scriptures this Week
Ecclesiastes 3:1, Ecclesiastes 3:4
2 Samuel 6:14
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. Father, You are our good, good Father. Thank You that You love us enough to intervene in our lives dredging up our stories so we can face the truth and be healed of old wounds and old patterns that don’t serve us or You well. We want to know Your view on our lives. Thank You that although pain comes, it does not get to seal our graves because of You. Yes, we have many reasons to grieve, but we have many more to worship. We worship You and we love You. Amen.