"Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen, though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I'm singing joyful praise to God. I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God's Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I'm king of the mountain!" (Habakkuk 3:17-19, The Message)
How do we find and hold onto the joy that belongs to us as Christ-followers? To find out, we talked with Thelma Wells, Extraordinary Women speaker and author of God Is Not Through with Me Yet (Multnomah).
In her early years of marriage and motherhood, Thelma experienced a near nervous breakdown. Then several years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and spent several days in intensive care on life support, not expected to live. Yet Thelma bubbles over with joy. Our Ginger Kolbaba asked, Why?
What gets in the way of us truly experiencing joy?
THELMA: Trying to be somebody we're not. God made us wonderfully in his image. But we look at life from the eyes of our culture: where I should live, what I should drive, where my kids should go to school, what I should have in my house. We compete for status, for recognition, for all these things that mean little or nothing in the end. And when we do that, we become confused about who we serve and why we serve.
If we aren't careful, we can become so depressed and confused and overwhelmed that our joy goes underground.1