I listened to a talk last week with Fusion and it’s been playing over on my mind a lot. Here are my rambling thoughts around it…

According to psychology (yes, a very non-specific and vague source!), in any given circumstance, we experience an emotion for 30 seconds, after that, the emotion only continues if we “rehearse” it; if we allow it to continue.

If we believe that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, makes home in us, and that if God is love, he can only feel love, if God is joy, he cannot experience “un-joy” etc etc,,…is it possible to choose, after our 30 seconds of emotion, to ask the Holy Spirit to replace our emotions with his…to replace our feeling with his indestructible joy, to show me how he is seeing the situation?

Interesting hey?

I know, personally, I love to indulge in a good bit of self-pity or frustration at something that’s been said to me but what if I were to constantly be asking the Holy Spirit to replace my  emotions with his.  This isn’t to belittle hard situations, grieving, depression – I believe the Spirit weeps and mourns and laments that which is heart-breaking, and yet, there is always the possibility of joy. I want to understand this joy. I want to understand how to be filled with joy as I weep over a friend who is caught in a cycle of destruction; I want to understand how to be filled with joy as I reflect on the things that are going on around me – violence, abuse, rejection etc.  I don’t want to be blind to reality but I want joy. And, I most certainly don’t want to experience more frustration and jealousy and anger and bitterness and sadness than I need to, as much as my flesh tells me it wants to.

Why do I not do this? As I’ve been pondering this idea throughout the week, I’ve had more opportunities than I can count to try this out and yet I find, even when I remember that it’s even an option, it’s a real battle to do so, it’s almost like I think I’m going to miss out on feeling sorry for myself! It actually sounds ridiculous when I write it in words and yet I know this is true. I imagine I’m not alone.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about this past week is that if I am a unique creation, made to be and live in a certain way, then only I can love like I can love – no one else’s love is quite like mine and so as I step further into the identity as God’s image-bearer, I can love my neighbour better, in a way that no one else can.

Putting these two ideas together, if I am not choosing joy, choosing love, choosing peace, choosing to see the world the way God does then my neighbour-loving will never be as good as it can be, because as an image-bearer of God, I am not made to love people from a place of frustration, obligation or, unforgiveness.

If you’ve made it through this ramble, I congratulate you, but I felt compelled to not think about what I was writing too much and share what’s been playing over in my heart. Pray for me – I want to love, knowing the fullness of God’s love and joy, pray that I would be humble in letting go of my entitlement to hold onto negative emotions and that in my obedience, God in me would bring out the Clare in me.



  1. Hi Clare. So good to read this blot and thanks for sharing your thoughts on Joy in spite of so many surrounding problems and hurting people. This has been a real encouragement to me also as I trust this reflection will be for you in the days ahead. We will continue to pray for you and keep looking forward to your so honest, thoughtful and refreshing thoughts as you continue to show His love in face of such challenges and as you get close who hurt. With our love in Jesus. Len

  2. Thanks for this Clare, I often consider the dichotomy we experience of the unbelievable joy we have in God alongside our anguish over the unwillingness of our friends and loved ones to open themselves to receive Him and His goodness for themselves. Such joy and yet such sorrow. Add in to that the daily struggle we have with our desires and ‘falleness’ and you could be forgiven for turning to psychiatrists for help!

    But I was just rereading the introduction to Brennan Manning’s ‘Abba’s Child’ yesterday. He talks about his ‘shadow side’, and how after decades of a life in Christ he still needs to remind himself to bring his shadow side into the Presence of Christ.

    And yet even this bringing of ourselves (our shadow selves and our joy filled selves) into the presence of Christ is done for us by the Spirit:

    “What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
    and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—
    these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,

    “Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”
    But we have the mind of Christ.

    1 Cor 2

    Keep posting your thoughts Clare, and may the Spirit of Christ empower you in your innermost being.

  3. Your emails always encourage and inspire me Clare! I am praying for you to be more and more in touch with the emotions, personality and vision of God! A little birdy told me you have a boyfirend… this is also exciting news my friend! I love you lots and look forward to seeing you sometime soon. Have a great week! Ruth xxx

    Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2012 12:39:55 +0000 To:

  4. I find the concept of joy really confusing, as apparently it is different to happiness or peace. Any takers on enlightening me on this?!

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