I’ve been married for thirteen years and recently made this observation – my husband and I have inverted experiences with doom. Some days, I wake up with what I call “my doom” and I have to work my way into joy throughout the day.
My husband is the opposite and practically clicks his heels and says, “Jiminy Cricket” as he far too joyfully jumps out of bed to the sound of his 4 a.m. alarm. But then sometimes the day wears on him, and he fights discouragement in the evening when I’m feeling hyper and happy and eager to make my hand into a puppet that no one in my whole family thinks is funny, except me.
I joke that we are perfectly paired so that one of us is always happy and hopeful and able to deal with the other’s “doom.”
We joke, but our lives have been harder lately. We’ve had unexpected surgeries and sicknesses and work changes and church changes, so we’ve both spent some part of some days struggling—struggling to live abundantly, struggling to hold onto the peace available to us in Christ. Jesus came to bring life to the fullest, but sometimes our doomscouragement gets our attention instead.
Thankfully, we not only have each other, but we have the Holy Spirit who reminds us why we can look beyond “doom” and how even to do that. Here are three things I’m thinking on, as I fight for joy these days.
1. We Need People Who Will Fight for Our Joy
“And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25
My husband is amazing, but he can’t defeat my doom on his own. God calls us when He saves us into His family forever. He knows that we’ll lose our joy in the cracks of our broken lives if we don’t have the help of others, if we can’t borrow the faith of others, if we can’t witness the joy of our brothers and sisters in Him.
In my most recent season of discouragement, I wasn’t alone. I had Brandon and Mattie and Holly and Vanessa and Jean provoking me to love and good works. I had Bill and Jake and Katie and Aubrey encouraging me. I had brothers and sisters, literally and spiritually, watching out for me.
We need each other because we need to be reminded of hope. We need to be reminded we’re loved. We all need the body of Christ or we will wither away. When life gets hard, get close. Get nearer to the family that fights for your joy.
2. We Need to Pursue the Joy of Obedience
Since I’ve been a Christian, I’ve gotten to see this wave of gospel awareness touch a lot of churches in a cool way. Many of us who grew up with moralistic mentalities have been awakened by the words we’d been trained to memorize, realizing that the “good news” of the gospel wasn’t just a ticket to heaven, but the key to abundant life every day. The truth of “it is finished” is the truth that sets us free right now.
The gospel is news that is actually good and can actually satisfy our hearts in real time. So cool. But I think sometimes we can get wishy-washy about pursuing holiness because we are so grateful to not be legalists anymore. And, maybe, sometimes we swing too far on the other side of the pendulum.
But God’s grace doesn’t just free us from moralism; it grants us access to holiness. The gospel makes it death-defyingly obvious that God loves us and His ways are good. His plans are kindness toward us. The holiness He expects leads to the happiness we crave.
So, if we want to push back the doom, can we not push into obedience? Shouldn’t we be holier today than we were last week? Not to earn something that has already been earned by the sacrifice of Jesus, but because “he who started a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
I don’t know about you but reading God’s Word and obeying it often is not easy for me. We think obedience will be the worst, but it’s actually a remedy to our lack-of-peace problem. When we let the Spirit lead us, He leads us into His perfect presence where doom goes to die.
3. We Need and We Have New Mercies
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!” – Lamentations 3:22-23
Good news, guys. We have new mercies. Every day. Whether we’re more aware of them at 4 a.m. or 4 p.m., the Spirit is so good to remind our spirits rhythmically and daily that we are not, in fact, doomed. The opposite actually.
We are appointed to salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:9). In Jesus, God gives us mercy even when we love His stuff more than we love Him. He gives us mercy when we read His Word and disobey it. We experience joy when we obey His voice, and when we don’t, we still find new mercies and new opportunities walk again in His love.
We are so loved, you guys. We are John 3:16 loved, and it has everything to do with our status as sons and daughters of God. Think on that when you wake up with “your doom” or find it creeping in as you drive home from work. We are not doomed, we are treasured. We are not doomed, we are forgiven. We are not doomed, we are heirs. We are broken little kids with the keys to the kingdom. Praise God.