Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy is as joy does

When will we ever be happy in today? We can't wait to be sixteen so we can drive. Then we will be happy. Well, I hate to tell you, but puberty is not exactly fun. All those zits, yuck! We can't wait to have our own job. Oh Lord, again, you might not find that happiness your looking for when you have a boss breathing down your neck telling you to move faster. We think we find happiness when we are finally out on our own. Wow, we can do what we what when we want. Um, once again, nope! When you begin taking out your check book each week and watching your paycheck go to bill after bill you might re-check that happiness list. Oh, once we get married we will be happy. I wouldn't count on it. Marriage is work. Daily work. Love just doesn't happen. It is an action of purpose. Children? Yes, I will be happy once I have children? LOL There are days you will want to pull your hair out and run for the hills. Well, okay then. What about when I retire? I hear people are so bored they go back to work within a year! Why oh why are we placing all of our happiness in when and if and tomorrow? We place our happiness in all the things we do not have yet, but want to acquire. What if we never acquire those things? What if the Lord has other plans for us?

What if we never grow rich or to be 5'7? I am still waiting to hit 5'4. I don't think it is going to happen! What if that perfect man never comes? What if we don't have that dream job or that house filled with stuff? What if our car is a lemon? Then life will pass us by without a smile. Without a day of feeling complete. We spend more time dreaming of those very things we don't have than the simple joys we do. The key is being thankful. Finding thanks in all God has for us. When we have thankful hearts we have joyful hearts.

"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name." Psalm 100:1-4

Here in Missouri it has snowed once again. Yes, the weather is crazy here. What do we do? Complain. Why? Why not enjoy one more snow fall? Why not cozy up and watch it fall? Why not simply laugh with the kids and build one more snow man, fall into one more snow angel before we once again complain that it is too hot? Are we ever satisfied? Are we really ever happy?

We want what we want when we want it. If we don't have it we seem to live in our own pity party. Life is not about stuff. The faster we learn this the more joy we will see. Life isn't fame and fortune. I use to be one of those people who thought joy came from simply living in happiness. Happiness is an emotion. It comes and goes and changes just as quickly as Missouri weather. Joy is something different. Joy is in our hearts. We feel it no matter what the situation is. Joy is a choice. It is an action of faith and a continuous effort to see good in all.

"Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again I say, rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

It seems we wait for something bad to happen. Then that of course gives us more warrant to complain. "See, I told you nothing good is coming my way." Are we afraid to be happy? Are we afraid to just let it all go and feel joy? I think we are. We are afraid that as soon as we let it all go something dreadful will happen that brings us right back into our pit of despair. How do I know? I have been there. I have been afraid to open my heart again. I have been afraid to feel. Not wanting to feel loss or hurt again. Through all I have learned one thing. God will never let me down. He is always with me. He is not looking for ways to bring me happiness, but ways in which I can be content in Him. Ways that I can find joy completely in Him and in nothing else.

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, through it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Through now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory." 1 Peter 1:6-8

We say we try to find our way. We spend our lives seeking happiness when all along it has been right in front of us waiting for our attention. Waiting for us to take part in the joy that abounds daily. At the end of our lives we will either smile knowing we took every day and made it all it could be or we will frown in sadness wishing we had more time for a do over. May we live without regret. May we open our eyes before they are shut permanently to all around us. Why don't we bend to smell the flowers? Stoop to take a child's hand? Look up and see the sun shining brightly? We can choose to laugh.

"For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" Psalm 30:5

Friends, we will face doubt, struggle, and sadness. We will live in times of trouble and sickness. We can overcome by making the choice to smile in all Christ has done, is doing and will do in our lives. Even though the rain might be pouring, the sun is still out. The rain has it's purpose. We don't have to get lost in it. We can choose to walk through the rain in faith, believing there is a rainbow for our eyes to witness. We can take hold of right now and not allow our emotions and circumstances to steal away all the Lord has placed in our heart.

In Matthew 15:8 we can begin reading about the feeding of the 5,000. Hello? 5,000 people? Jesus didn't fall into despair. He knew, He trusted His Father. Daniel (Daniel 6:10) in the lion's den. He didn't give up and just wish for death. He had faith and God showed His might. We can see singing and praise all throughout David's life. Paul? Oh the heartache this disciple seen. The pain he lived. He praised God as he sat in a prison cell, beaten and bruised. Life is what we make it. A life filled with joy is a choice.

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

So, what will it be for you? For me, I want to make each day count. I want to live in joy through my migraines and chronic pain. Through each struggle that comes I want to open my heart and see all God has for me. Hard times will come. We can count on that, but we too count on Christ to be there through all. We can find joy if we will only stop looking for happiness tomorrow.

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4


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