I was just thanking the Holy Spirit for using me the ways He has, and asking Him to keep using me but for me to always see that it’s Him, not me, doing the work, that I would be humble and not get off track.
In that moment it was suddenly so clear to me how necessary it is for me to embrace the Joy of the Lord as my strength in order for Him to use me most effectively. The people I can think of whom it is most obvious to me that God uses, such as Mother Teresa, are the ones who are joyful in His service no matter how much suffering they are experiencing. They are also the most inspiring, and even just that alone means they have less to hold them back from being beautiful witnesses.
When I am struggling the most, I am always aware of this choice: I can either go on suffering, exaggerating it by not leaning on God, and feel good about it in a twisted way because I think that staying in my suffering (even intentionally) validates all my sorrows for some reason. Or, I can turn to Abba for strength, for comfort, even just for company. If I do that genuinely, truly trusting Him and embracing the help He gives me, I will feel better. It may not be better in the way I desire, though, so it is so tempting to push away His help, His strength, His joy. I am pushing Him away. And this means that He is not working in me the way He could if I cooperated. But it also means He cannot work through me.
It is imperative that I embrace the Joy that is His strength, no matter how hard it may seem to be in that moment.