[First posted on MySpace: 03.03.2008]
the message at church yesterday was about living joyfully.
do i live each day overflowing with true joy?
sometimes. most days i don't though.
lately i've been falling prey to the pity-me syndrome, especially around will and the girls. i wake up complaining about how much work i have to do, or about how sick i feel, or about how frustrated i am that the girls are both teething and so i am not getting more than 2-3 hours of sleep at night, or really fill in the blank with anything. i complain. it's a miserable existance most days. i also find it really easy sometimes to blame everyone else on the planet for anything that goes wrong. that also makes for a miserable day.
so i was eager to hear about how i could get the true joy back into my life. have you ever been there? desperate for someone to tell you how to find joy again (or maybe even for the first time)?
really, living joyfully is about taking the focus off of me and focusing on God. life is not about me. or you. or your spouse (or significant other). or your kids. or your career, your car, your house, your salary...you get the idea. when i stop being self-centered, or even other people-centered (because face it...people are sinners and eventually let you down at least once!), and start living a God-centered existance, life becomes not only bearable but it overflows with a true joy.
now please allow me to clarify. "joy" is not the same as "happiness". joy is deep-rooted; happiness is a temporary emotion. i am not saying that if you live a God-centered life that you will always be happy - oh no, my friend. there are too many heartbreaking, gutwrenching things going on for us to always be happy. i am saying, though, that if you live believing that God is in complete control of every situation (even the bad ones), something happens to your soul. there comes a calm assurance that no matter what happens, God is there with you and you can at least be grateful for His presence in your life. (ever read that poem footprints?) sometimes all we have to be grateful for is the fact that He is willing to carry us when we are too weak to walk. that joy and peace will overflow eventually and others will be drawn - not to you (because it is not about you!!!) but to the One who loves you and cares for you.
Jesus says in the Gospel of John, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (10:10) He never says "I have come that they might live by a strict set of rules and regulations and then only if they act good enough will I allow them to live a good life." He was born, He lived, He died and He rose from the dead that we -anyone who believes- might have ABUNDANT life. not a meager existence, not a purposeless stay on earth, but an abundant, everlasting life. full of God's love...full of God's peace...full of the joy of knowing that God is in control and that He has our best interest at heart.
so i went home from church and prayed out loud with abby and elizabeth (will was at sunday school) while i did the dishes. we thanked God for just about everything we could think of, and sure enough my heart was lightened and my pityme mood faded away. i have been encouraged to live joyfully and focus on how great God is and how thankful i am for His unfailing, unchanging, unconditional love.
you can live the abundant life that is overflowing with joy, too. place your trust and your heart in God. acknowledge that Jesus can save you from a meaningless existance...and begin to live joyfully!