Every year I have some type of health and fitness New Year’s resolution. A “grow closer to Jesus” resolution, be a better mom/wife/friend/person resolution and while all of those things are great and are still on the list of resolutions, I have started to realize that all of those things will line up and come together the more I choose to have JOY in my life. In the everyday, the mornings, kid's bath time (when they're flooding my bathroom floor), bed time, bible time, ALL the time.
Joy… not your neighbor down the road, or your aunt, but the word: Joy.
My kid’s laughter makes me happy. My husband giving me a random hug while making dinner makes me happy. Finding $20 in my coat pocket from the year before makes me happy. My kid’s finally potty training (we’re getting closer!!) and the thought of not spending money on diapers, makes me happy. Not waiting in line at the grocery store makes me happy. My kids throwing a fit or disobeying, on the other hand does not. A chaotic day that has me so stressed I can’t think straight, does not. An argument with my spouse doesn’t make me happy. Losing a loved one, doesn’t make me happy. Wrecking my car, losing my phone with all 900 of pictures of my kids, getting cut off in traffic, doesn’t make me happy. But in the midst of everything life throws at us, we make the decision or not to choose joy. Happiness is easy – it just happens. Joy, on the other hand is a decision, a choice – something you have to decide on in the heat of the moment.
Happiness is what makes us temporarily feel good, joy is what permanently sustains us when things are not good.
1 Peter 1: 8-9 says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
If I can be completely honest here, I truly and honestly have no idea how an individual makes it through life, daily, without Jesus living in their life. This life is way too hard and complicated, and God knew that ALL of those years ago and that is why he sent us a savior - his son to us. He knew we would make mistakes, screw things up, have bad days, have hard times and that’s why Jesus gave up his life to save you and I. Even more, to exchange our brokenness for joy.
I love what 1 Peter 1:8-9 says, because it is SO true. This whole Christianity stuff, people debate it, argue it, try to prove it true and not true – you can go down that road all day long, but it still won’t change what you feel on the inside. No, I haven’t seen Jesus – but I believe in him because of the change he has made in me. Because he came to rescue a sinner, bad attitude, pessimistic, negative Nancy, person like me. And, because he did so, I have this inexpressible joy that literally is what it says, inexpressible. When I became a mom, I 100% understood God’s love for me. It made sense. We are made in his image, I am a child of God, he loves me unconditionally and in a way that is inexpressible. That’s how I feel about my kids. If I’m right here, you do too about your own. Can you explain the love you have for your kids, no. It’s indescribable.
That’s the kind of Joy I’m talking about.
As Christians, we are given that kind of joy. But it is up to you and I to live and walk in it. It is possible to experience Joy in suffering.
Romans 12:12 – Be JOYful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
BE is a verb – a verb is an action. The action is up to you. You either choose to be joyful, or you choose to be miserable. Even in the most miserable of situations, you can still be joyful.
How much different or better would your life on the daily, or your current circumstance be if you would just choose to be joyful? How much better would your relationships be if you were full of joy, instead of full of grumpiness? What kind of impact could you make in the lives or those around you, the grocery store, home, work, etc., if you would chose to be joyful.
Will it be hard – absolutely. Is it impossible – absolutely not. Life isn't full of rainbows and unicorns - but it's full of people like me and you and well, that's pretty much all that matters!
2016. You don't know me...yet!