By LIBBO CROSSWHITE
How to change your
default setting to joy
“Joy is the basket to draw water out of the well of salvation.”
This quote has struck me since I found it in Clay’s grandmother’s journal that was given to me a few years back. For all who know Clay’s grandmother, it is evident that Peggy Dees embodies joy. Joy in her family, but most importantly, joy in Christ her Savior, the same today, yesterday and tomorrow.
Yes, we’re in a season of change, a season of doubt and fear, but you and I as Christians have the abundant gift of changing the narrative. Because of our salvation, we have direct access to the abundant joy offered only in Christ. Regardless of the circumstances, joy can be found at the foot of the cross.
It’s incredible to me how the Lord pieces things together when you’re seeking to see Him in all things. I hear and see joy all around me in this season, but I had to be looking for it first.
My dear friend Frances Dykes gave her testimony to our Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and she talked about our default settings. Our sin nature lends itself to our default settings being less than desirable: pride, anger, hopelessness, bitterness, the list goes on. As scripture tells us, we are born in sin, and we see that brokenness in our default settings.
2020 has both revealed and wrecked our default settings. It’s torn down our systems of religion, school, general busy-ness, and all the things we do to achieve more, receive more, be involved in more.
It’s stopped many of us in our tracks. Caused us to ask hard questions about what we truly believe. I have been fortunate enough to have more of an inconvenient year rather than a wrecked year. Many of you have faced losing loved ones due to a virus, or losing houses due to hurricanes, or losing jobs or relationships. Yet there is one Constant.
My kids, both biological and high-school aged, have asked me often, “When will this be over? When can we go back to normal?” I hear myself asking God the same question, and I keep being reminded that His answer was written long before 2020.
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
I long to look less for answers on this side of heaven and more to the established truth of what God has already written. He knows how the story ends, and we have the ability to know and believe it.
A cure for a virus or the results of an election won’t solve the issue at heart. As long as our default setting is to trust in something of this world or ourselves, we will always be left with the same result: brokenness that is rooted much deeper than our circumstances. Perfect circumstances don’t exist, and 2020 has reminded us of that, over and over (and over and over) again.
As we approach the holidays, it’s normal to remind ourselves of the importance of gratitude, but I feel the Lord calling me to something deeper this year: to move away from my default setting of being frustrated when things don’t go right, or discouraged when I let people down, and typically pushing those emotions deeper into my soul so I can appear “OK” to the world.
I feel the Lord pushing me as He reminds me to seek joy in the mundane, to let go of control, and to be reminded of where my hope and joy has always come from: the well of salvation.
Canceled events have left us more time at home. More time for the kids to play backyard football with our neighbors-turned-family. More time for me to be the self-proclaimed reigning champion of both Uno and dominoes. More time to wake up excited to worship in person on Sundays because we had to be away for months. Joy can overflow if we allow it.
“What brought you joy today?” is our nightly question now. Sometimes the answer is recess. Sometimes it’s, “The hot lunch was quesadillas!” But joy is always there, and God is calling us to seek it in all things.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Madison and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 6 years old, and a son, Russell, who is 4 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison- Ridgeland Academy and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.