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The true joy of Christ

In Romania this year, I finally understood what true joy was and how to find it. I often times try to find happiness by trying to have positive thoughts about myself, doing well in school and extracurriculars, and in other people. What I discovered in Romania, however, told me that I will never experience true joy if I keep relying on earthly things to make me happy. In school, my classmates and I have been taught that true joy can only come from

"The joy of the Lord is my strength."-Nehemiah 8:10

God. Therefore, we must surrender everything to Him and let go of all the things that drag us down. I knew that that was true, but I didn’t fully understand it and didn’t know how to accomplish it.

  The Romania team visited schools throughout the week. The previous year, I had enjoyed the schools, but did not have a particularly special connection to them as I did the camp. Therefore, I did not expect to form one this year either. However, as we began our visits by worshipping with the kids, I finally experienced what others had been telling me about- the true joy of Christ. Freely worshipping with kids who radiate so much love was one of the best feelings of my life. In those short moments of singing worship songs, I had completely let go of all the stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts that linger in the back of my head and completely focused on the children, our purpose for being there, and the encouraging lyrics of the songs. I finally understood that we can experience true joy only when we surrender every negative earthly thing into God’s hands and strive to do what makes Him happy. In time, what makes Him happy, serving others and worshipping Him, will make us happy too.

--Brooke Bridges

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