Like me, do you ever hold yourself back from joy too? That’s what happens, just as you’re about to do something new or to break out of old patterns: self-doubt and fear intensify.
But, I’m learning our most honest moments are our most beautiful moments of intimacy and joy.
I’m not at my best. Maybe I need to wait. But, what about this fear or that flaw? These are the words I whispered to myself the morning before creating today’s video.
I’ve been quietly busy writing Book #2 (the release date is May 2017) — to share the most beautiful, vulnerable stories from my heart to encourage yours. But, last week as I was about to turn it into the publisher — the critical voices start getting louder.
When we share our hearts unguarded — about how we really feel or what we want — intimacy is vulnerable. We are unguarded. It feels awkward. We feel afraid.
But the moment someone who loves us meets us in our vulnerability, that intimacy becomes a knowing intimacy. Fear, when met with God’s knowing intimacy, invites us to experience JOY. So, I took the tripod on my morning hike and boldly pressed record to create today’s video for you. Just as I am.
Click below to view today’s Special Video Advent Devotional For Your Soul. As I drove down the mountain, joy filled my heart. Because what really matters isn’t what we do, but who we belong to. May your heart be touched with joy, beloved. Enjoy.
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If You Prefer To Read Today’s Devotional…
This is Bonnie Gray! I’m so happy to get a chance to be here with you in this quiet space, where the leaves have just blanketed the trail, here at winter time. Well, it’s this week of Advent that I’d like to share some words of reflection on the word joy.
I love that every time in the Christmas story that God comes to someone, like Mary, the shepherds – and even with Zachariah – that they were afraid.
I love it because even though they were afraid, God still came — to them. To whisper into their hearts good news.
And so as I think about the word joy, I remember that the Scriptures tell us that joy is fruit of the Spirit — which means joy is the result of a seed having been planted.
Joy is not just something that happens to us because we have to make ourselves feel joyful. Joy is the result of reflecting on something beautiful — that God has whispered on your heart.
So, I’m wondering this year, as you look back on all the moments God has been near to you, what is that promise? What are those words from Scriptures that have really brought you joy?
I’d like to share mine. It’s from Isaiah 49:15 —
“Can a mother forget her baby?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you.
I have written your name
on the palms of my hand.
Your walls are ever before me.”
Just seeing in this past year — how God has been true to that — that He has not forgotten the challenges that surround me — it gives me joy. Just like the leaves that are falling from the branches and softening the path.
I feel God’s whispers provided that comfort — and that knowing of intimacy brings me joy.
Well, I hope that as you reflect on those moments — the words God’s shared with this year —it will also bring you a moment of joy and peace.
I hope you have a wonderful day as you remember that you are loved. You are cherished. You are worth it. Just rest.
I’ll see you next time!
As you look back, what were the moments when God has been near to you?
What are the words from Scripture that have brought you joy?
Pull up a chair. Click to comment.
Thanks to those who shared last week.
It gives me joy to hear how it speaks to you and inspires me to keep sharing!
Hi Bonnie. I just wrote a blogpost called, “The Link Between Joy and Love: Or, How and Attitude Adjustment Changes Everything,” (Title could use some work) at http://www.lindalochridge.com. The Lord had spoken to me that morning about what was robbing my joy. It fits in so well with what the Lord has shared with you here. I love, love, love, your book and your blog.
thanks, linda! keep speaking from your heart, as you let the words flow with God and us…
Hi Bonnie! It was so good to see your face and hear your words in this video! I’ve missed reading your beautiful thoughts. Thank you for encouraging us during this advent season and reminding us where our true joy comes from. I feels as if I’m experiencing it this season even though my circumstances and what my eyes can see haven’t changed. ❤️️ Love hearing from your heart! xoxo
Hi Valerie! My heart always does a happy dance when i see a note from you here. i hope your Christmas had a special experience tucked in it, that was just for you — that you know once again, that you are as loved as you truly are and the new year holds something beautiful just for you. xo
I loved your first book and your devotions. When you read the passage from Isaiah 49, about our names being written on the palms of God’s hands, I immediately had brought to mind the imprint of the nails on Jesus’s hands. My eyes filled with tears, and I had a flash of how much God loves me. I never thought of the writing being the nail prints. He forever bears those prints for each of us, as he hung there for each one of us, thinking of each one of us by name. Thank you and God bless you. Keep sharing from your heart — it is a great encouragement.
hi carol, it’s beautiful that God’s soft, gentle whisper spoke so vividly to you – and brought to your mind the nails on Jesus’ hands. That is a God moment, as your soul responded in tears. The touch of His very real presence. Treasure it, for it is real, and meant to be YOURS. Thanks for sharing, it encourages me ot know that my words have reached a friend like you and it has been of encouragement. xo
I never thought of the fruit of the Spirit beginning as seed. I’m thinking that we, as instruments of the Spirit, can also plant seeds, such as beautiful, encouraging words into the hearts of others. The result? Joy! What a privilege God has given us, to participate with him in such sowing–not just during this season focused as it is on joy, but all year ’round. Thank you, Bonnie, for your insights. ‘So appreciate your honest, heartfelt posts!
Hi Nancy, I think it’s so beautiful to hear the Holy Spirit bringing the reality of joy as a seed – to place in on your heart – to reassure you that this seed is indeed in YOU. because you are blessed and highly favored. and chosen. and no one can ever take that away from you. No one. and i’m blessed to know I can be a small part in hearing what God is whispering to you!
” Joy is the result of reflecting on something beautiful — that God has whispered on your heart.” I love this. I can try so hard to find joy, and get weary, when it is a seed that is already there that just needs to be seen.
Hi Lynn! What a whisper God put on your heart — He’s encouraging you – reassuring you, right in you already lay the seeds of what brings you joy. May this in-between time of the New Year bring you renewed inspiration on how you can nurture and water those beautiful seeds – that is YOUR voice. and what YOU see as beautiful and real and brings joy to you. I’m sure whatever brings joy to you – will be joy to us. xo
I *always* love your video messages, sweet Bonnie. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I really love that verse from Isaiah — it sure makes me feel precious and beloved whenever I recall what Jesus did for me! Thank you for your encouragement. ? tina
Thanks, Tina – your encouragement means a lot. To know the videos speaks to you, encourages me to keep sharing! That Is. verse is so special!