We've had weeks of reasons to celebrate and be joyful. First Thanksgiving, then Christmas. January and February are difficult months for many. It seems easy for the blues creep in and find no reason to rejoice. When those blues and blahs try to take up residence in our hearts, we can learn from David's prayer to God in Psalms 51:
Make me to hear joy and gladness
To listen to. To obey. To discern. To perceive.
He asks God to make him obey joy. Make him perceive joy. Make him discern joy. Make him LISTEN to joy. He is crying out to God to help him be joyful in the forgiveness he had received even though he didn't feel joyful.
Friend, we can hear so many emotions and we can decide which one we are going to listen to. He is asking God to help him discern the joy when all he can "hear" is his despair because he is crushed to pieces on the inside. He, effectively, is asking for the ability hear and obey the truth, which was that he had been forgiven, something to definitely rejoice about.
We get to decide which voice our heart is going to obey, and that doesn't come naturally, which is why we have to go to God for it. It's like being able to pick out the sound of different instruments in an orchestra. It's only after experience listening can you hear the different instruments as they play instead of the whole orchestra.
How often when I am down or in despair do I ask to hear the truth on the matter? Not much. Because so many negative emotions are screaming, rudely, might I add, I find myself defaulting to whichever is louder.
Have a joy filled 2017, friends. I am certainly going to try. Remember, it doesn't happen on its own, we need His help.