If you have ever walked through a season of unhappiness or loneliness and you are surrounded by people of faith, then someone has probably told you to the following: "Keep your chin up remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength!"
That type of encouragement used to really get under my skin because it was like telling someone who runs out of gas on the side of the road that they need gas. Add to that the fact that I did not truly understand what the joy of the Lord was.
I always took that the joy of the Lord meant that my happiness would come if I would just get into God. I am learning that my happiness only comes when God gets into me!
The way I used to look at this burdened me with the pressure of not being good enough. Now I realize that all I have to do is let the Lord in and stop beating myself up. If I think about what He says about me and what He thinks of me I can get happy. When He arrives He brings His peace, His love and His joy. And the joy that comes in with Him gives me the strength to endure.
Maybe life is hard right now. You may even feel a bit overwhelmed. Just remember, the joy of the Lord is Your strength too! Don't worry about getting in to God, just let God get into you!