Most people think joy is a feeling. We hear people say, “that gave me such joy” or “I’m just filled with joy today” to describe when they are feeling exceptionally happy. The problem with feelings are that they are temporary and very, very fickle. You can go from bliss to miserable in a matter of seconds. So when we describe joy as a feeling we are selling ourselves short.
To me joy is a decision, a commitment. To live your life filled with joy each day is to make a conscious decision and commitment that you are going to open yourself to being the person God designed you to be. When you make that commitment you will be amazed at just how wonderful life can be.
Sometimes life hurts. Can you still be joyful when it hurts so much? This question has been on my mind more than usual this week. Recent events have me looking for joy in places devastated by tragedy. Guess what… it’s still there.
Where is joy when life hurts, when your feelings say that you just can’t take anymore?
Joy is knowing that you have been created by a God who loves you, who counts every hair on your head and who has a plan for your life that is good.
So when you don’t feel the joy what do you do? You take a breath, close your eyes and commit once again to the path he has laid out for you. Trusting that you will make it and it won’t always hurt this much.
For a while now he has been telling me… “write a book, become a speaker”.
Lately I’ve been running from this as fast as I can. This week I hit the wall. Have been hurting, mentally, emotionally and physically more than I have in several years. I fell into a pit and I wasn’t sure I would ever come out. That’s the bad news….
The good news… God never left my side, Jesus cradled me in his arms as I cried and yelled and begged for the burden to be lifted from me. It took time but I realize now that he couldn’t lift the burden or stop the hurting because I was holding on to it with both hands and wouldn’t let go. Finally, I found myself at a place where I gave up. Total surrender and a “thy will be done” attitude seemed the only choice. Guess what happened? With that realization, the sun came out and a peace filled my soul. Clarity, focus and contentment began to be how the day started instead of fear, pain and depression.
Have my circumstances changed? … no, but everything has changed. I’m learning that focus, balance and obedience to God is the solution to becoming the “Christian Joy Creation” God designed me to be.
I’m sharing this with you today in pure obedience. You see… God is calling me to write a book and then speak about it and share it with all of you. This scares the heck out of me but I am going “public” today that I will do it.
The “working” title….. “Alpacas, Autism and Obesity: how God used his fuzzy creatures and life’s biggest challenges to create something beautiful.”
Thank you for letting me share this… if it speaks to you in any way will you let me know?
Today I want to take a moment to talk with you. I have a message… you have NOT been forgotten. You are NOT alone. God is right beside you at this very moment, he has not forgotten the amazing person he made in you. Please take a minute, stop reading, close your eyes and feel it… feel his love embracing you, holding you close and stroking your hair. ….. Breath…… breath…….
I have a confession, this world overwhelms me. Most of the time I feel tiny and insignificant, that nothing I say, think or do matters in the vast sea of pain, destruction and evil that appears to rule this world. It hurts…… I know that someone reading this understands exactly what I mean.
With all the recent unbelievable, unbearable things happening around us how can we NOT feel like we are alone and forgotten, especially by God who is supposed to be in charge and in control of this world.
I think that may be the heart of the matter… control……
We fool ourselves to think that we can control the uncontrollable. We can’t. No amount of laws, preparations, weapons or picking the right leaders will really control this world. I know it sounds scary but it’s true.
But here’s the cool part… there is one thing we CAN control. Ourselves… when God designed this world he gave us a gift of free will. That means we get to choose. We get to choose for ourselves our final outcome.
You See… the end of the world is already done. God has already won and evil is banished. The things that we see now are small pieces of the bigger picture. One we have no control over. What we do have control over is which team we are going to play on.
Believe me.. that choice is not tiny or insignificant…. it matters and so do you.
God has not forgotten you, he loves you and he’s asking for you to choose him. Trust me, he won’t let you down… he designed you and knows EVERYTHING about you. He also knows exactly what you can, and can’t handle. It’s dark and scary in this world, why are you searching frantically trying to figure out how to control it?
Take today, right this minute and say “yes”… stop fighting the arms that are reaching out for you and lean into a love that will never be used up or leave you.
I did and it has made all the difference.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Have you ever said this? Anyone who knows me well also knows that I like closure. Let me rephrase, I LOVE closure. There’s nothing much I like better than when I am done with a project. In fact, sometimes I rush through the details just to get done!
Just ask my Dad, who as my 10th grade geometry teacher, told my mom, “if she would just slow down and not be in such a hurry to get done with her tests she would get better grades”.
2012 is coming to a close. Hooray! I think the reason I like the end so much is because of all the great things that come along with new beginnings. So I am now anxiously winding down 2012 and looking forward to what 2013 will bring, and I’m in a hurry to get there!
2012 has been a year of “resting in God”… learning to “be still”… I am starting to really accept who God has designed me to be. So as the year comes to a close I am stepping out and claiming “I’m DONE!” That means I will no longer be looking for approval or validation outside of God to prove I am valuable or that my ideas matter. I have had enough of chasing after the dreams of others because I see them as more influential, important and valuable.
2013 will be a year of walking in JOY. I’m not saying I will always FEEL joyful, what I mean is I am committed to a single focus, on my God and staying in line with his will.
I’m done giving up any more of my life to what anyone else thinks I should do or be. God is in charge of my life… if that’s a problem, you’ll have to take it up with him. 🙂
Today I needed a little inspiration so I reminded myself of Jody’s story!
Jodi’s Story- After struggling with obesity for 15 years and yo-yo dieting, trying practically every plan available through the years, I decided to give this program a try. It turned out to be the best decision I could have ever made. I lost the 83lb and it was so simple … if I can do this, anyone can! I am not hungry, and my cravings are completely gone, and I have so much energy to keep up with my boys now. As a result of weight loss, my cholesterol level went from 219 to 160, and I have never felt better! The middle picture was taken at 60lb weight loss and is a visual reminder of all the weight I used to carry … no wonder I was always so tired and got winded doing simple household tasks. Having a coach and the long-term curriculum is a key component to this program, and I know that I now have the tools to keep the weight off FOR LIFE!! — FREE GIFT “How to choose a Weight Loss Program Guide” get it here: http://www.goldenheartland.com/Weight.html
It’s been an interesting year of growing and learning to live by moving in a general direction instead of obsessing about making progress towards a SMART goal.
What I have learned is that what is more important than any individual goal is defining a purpose. There really is only one thing that we need to do and that is learn more every day about how to grow in relationship with God. As we do, he guides our path and direction..
What I’m now realizing is that there is a place for goals, but they must be set through God’s guidance in his time, with his values. Those are the smartest goals of all.
I have this poem posted in my office… it describes what my life goals are now.
” You said to lean on Your arm,
and I’m leaning.
You said to trust in Your love,
and I’m trusting.
You said to call on Your name,
and I’m calling.
I’m stepping out