There are so many ups and downs when you are a student and working full-time. One day your job is going really well. You received a compliment from your boss, didn't forget your lunch at home, and went to the gym after work. Then you arrive at your grad school night class and realize that you forgot it was your night to give the PowerPoint presentation. Yes, these are the ups and downs. The next day you miss an email from a client that costs you that sales account, but at least class went ok, right? It's not just students who feel that up and down pull, that's just how life goes. How do you keep those ups and downs from stealing your joy?
I am right there with you. I went back to grad-school here at Moody Theological Seminary to study mental health. One of my courses last semester was Human Development. I loved learning about the different stages of life, how the brain develops, and healthy signs of mental health depending on age.
I learned about healthy attachment that develops during infancy. An infant's relationship with his or her mother can affect relationships later in life. I thought about my friend who just had a baby. I have known her a long time. I remember when she got braces, was the first person she called when she had her first crush and was maid of honor at her wedding. I went to the hospital the day she had her daughter. Watching her new infant's eyes light up at the sound of her voice is exactly what my textbooks described.
During my undergraduate internship, I worked in child welfare. My internship consisted of driving babies to court dates and back to childcare. I remember staring into the eyes of twin boys who had not been held when they were born. I handed the twins over to their expectant, adoptive mother for the first time and visited a few weeks later and was surprised to see their eyes were sparkling just like my friend's baby.
What a picture of joy! The transformation of a baby's face when they are held with love is something that is seared into my memory. Being held is a symbol of being completely loved and belonging somewhere. Maybe you feel moved back and forth or up and down because life has rocked you and you just need to be held. The joy is far gone from your eyes and you just want to be ok. There is a book outside of my textbooks that talks about how acceptance and joy correlate.
Peter once wrote to several churches in Galatia, Asia, Bithynia, and elsewhere. The government and culture were violently against these new Christ followers. However, Peter describes the churches as having "inexpressible and glorious joy" even through the ups and downs of their current living situation.
1 Peter 1:8-9 says, "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith. The salvation of your souls."
Joy through life-threatening circumstances is possible.
When we realize that Jesus Christ, our Creator, loves us no matter what we have done or who we are, our souls can be held and saved. He knows you and says you belong. Maybe you know that Jesus loves you unconditionally, but you needed a reminder. Maybe you know that Jesus gave your soul salvation, but you are wondering why life keeps stealing your joy. Be held by your Creator and rest in His complete love for you. Because of your relationship with Jesus Christ, you can have joy through the ups and downs of life because you belong.
Hannah Lynn hosts Moody Radio’s That’s Real and is an engineer for Karl and Crew mornings. She grew up as a homeschooler on a tree farm, plays the harp (ask her about harp camp), drives a Prius (don’t judge), and started a fashion blog while a student at Moody Bible Institute (yes, that’s possible). Hannah loves to tell people about Jesus—as a seven-year-old she witnessed to her ballet teacher, then she started a Young Life club while in high school. Now she mentors teens with her husband, John, who serves as a youth pastor.
That’s Real with Hannah Lynn gives a one-minute dose of encouragement and advice to young adults who want to love and live God’s Word. Her fast-paced mix of storytelling and Bible truth helps create understanding between young believers and anyone who wants to follow Jesus one day at a time.