February 1, 2018
"I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me. Stay in My love ... I have told you these things so My joy may be in you and your joy may be full." John 15:9,11 (NLV)
I have a confession to make: I am a Hallmark movie junkie.
Whether it's Valentine's, Christmas, spring, summer or fall, you'll often find me planted in front of the television, watching endless Hallmark movies whenever I have the spare time - including those I've watched over and over, year after year, and have the plots, characters and lines memorized.
Why, you ask? So many reasons! They're peaceful, friendly and calming. People are pleasant and kind. Their lives are focused on family, friends and doing good things. They're wholesome and non-violent. The storylines revolve around love and happiness.
But mostly ... because they always have happy endings. Who doesn't like happy endings, especially when it comes to love?
We all do. Unfortunately, the reality is we don't always get happy endings.
Because ... real life. Real people. Real relationships. Real problems. Real heartaches. Relationships fail, friendships struggle or end, divorces happen, loved ones pass away, and true love often seems hard to find. When real life happens, we often feel disappointed and alone, especially this time of year, during a month hyper-focused on love and romance.
Although earthly relationships can add to our happiness, they should never be what determines it. If our happiness and satisfaction in life hinge on earthly love or perfect relationships, we'll always feel disappointed and quite possibly unhappy and lacking joy.
In today's key verse, Jesus shares about His unconditional and endless love for His children. In John 15:9, He states, "I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me. Stay in My love." Jesus calls us to realize how much we are loved, just as the Father loves His Son, and let ourselves embrace the immensity of it.
Then in John 15:11, Jesus explains why it's so important to recognize, embrace and abide in His love for us, by saying, "I have told you these things so My joy may be in you and your joy may be full." You see, it's His love alone that can bring true joy to our hearts and happiness into our lives. God's joy is the real love we all long for, but sometimes we look for and expect to find it in all the wrong places.
It would be nice if life were like a Hallmark movie and every relationship ended happily. But I've learned it's possible to feel happy no matter what's happening in our lives and regardless of our relationships status, because true joy from God is the hallmark of Christianity.
Dear Lord, help me remember and embrace the overwhelming love You have for me, especially on those days when I feel like romantic love is lacking in my life. I know You hear the desires of my heart when it comes to earthly relationships, but help me believe You have good plans for me and that in Your love, I can feel joy and happiness every day of the year. Help me always remember that no matter what, Your love is enough. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 144:15b, "... happy are the people whose God is the LORD." (ISV)
John 16:24, "Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." (ESV)
If you're struggling to feel joy and happiness today, you'll appreciate Tracie Miles' latest book, Unsinkable Faith.
Tracie's newest book, Love Life Again: Finding Joy When Life is Hard, releases August 1, 2018! Subscribe to her blog to keep updated about when you can pre-order the book and get all the freebies in just a few short months!
Valentine's Day is not always a day full of red roses and chocolate. Sometimes it is a day of heartache and disappointment instead. Visit Tracie's blogfor some encouragement about how to stay positive and joyful this month.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Has your happiness been hinging on the status of a current relationship or finding a new one? What can you do today to begin basking in God's love despite your relationship disappointments?
How might you begin living and feeling differently if you intentionally began thinking differently about the meaning of love and joy?
© 2018 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.