Abundant life, Encouragement, Leadership

Finding Joy

 

searching for joyWhere are you looking for joy? Life brings adversity, trials, and difficulties therefore we all need JOY!   Happiness, pleasure and enjoyment, a delight that makes us feel fulfilled and complete is needed, wanted and expected in our life.  Joy often is sought after through the senses, or external stimuli.  We can experience joy in relationships, watching a funny movie, in pleasure, and awareness of abundance, seeing something beautiful or exciting, tasting a new food, or engaging in an activity. We all should seek after joy cause there is nothing like a good belly laugh to release those happy endorphins throughout our system. However, this type of joy is often short term.  Perhaps the simplest way to envision joy that we all need is to see it as something that comes with a sense of fulfillment not just outer resources.  Fulfillment, even if it’s imperfect or incomplete, of whatever we’re committed to or have as our purpose or goal should all start with a relationship with Jesus. Our fulfillment may be finding success in parenthood, devotion to another, occupational success, or any other of a countless reasons why we go from day to day on this earth and make a life however this fulfillment can never reach the brimful point until we look at joy in a deeper spiritual meaning. Joy is the consequence, the result, and the reward when we are connected spiritually with our Creator.

Joy is an essential spiritual practice growing out of faith, grace, gratitude, hope, and love. It is the pure and simple delight in being alive.  It is also the deep satisfaction we know when we are able to serve others and be glad for their good fortune. Joy is not a cause. It is a consequence.  You don’t so much find joy. It finds you. You do a good thing well, you’re happy for that moment.  Find Jesus and you find joy for eternity.  

Some say, “I will be joy and happiness when…”What do you think would truly make you happy or give you joy? Let’s suppose one of your answers would be to make more money. If you were given a million dollars but told that you couldn’t spend it, money would do you no good. If you were allowed to buy a house that no one could live in, you would find the house worthless, too. So what do you really want? If you don’t know, you’ll greedily pursue material things or external things, thinking they will satisfy your needs.  What you truly desire is abundantly available and not limited to the resources of the physical world. Experiencing Love is all you really want. Money, treasures, even good health and better relationships are all things you think you need. But they are only strategies – means, not ends, and only a temporary part of a temporary physical world. They may be important in this dimension, but when you are completely awakened with God’s Love, you realize you need nothing else.  This leaves us with the result of joy.  This doesn’t mean you can’t work at a great job, have better health, or enjoy life’s material rewards. These things are for you to enjoy and experience only while you are here. Once you realize that you are a child of the most High, you’re free to consciously experience all of life’s physical rewards as an addition to your life, instead of believing you need anything for wholeness and happiness or even the abundance of joy.

How can we experience the joy that God wants us to have?  Sweep away material things. Remove from our living spaces the things that bind us to them, that conjure up negative experiences, or that remind us of the hurtful past.   We are left with simpler living spaces graced with a few things that have significance and meaning to us. Then we are free to experience the joyous freedom of nourishing memories and pleasing surroundings.  Brush away anger, resentment, and bitterness. Apply the greatest gift of all – forgiveness. By living lives of conscious self-acceptance and learning to forgive ourselves we become more able to forgive others. This loosens the devastating constraints of anger, resentment, distrust and despair and frees our hearts to swell with joy. Carry away the busyness and mental chatter of lives lived in the possible future or buried past. When we second-guess what we “should have done” or anticipate what we are going to do, we become oblivious to the moment we are living. By learning to be present in the current moment we open to the treasures that it offers.  Sweep away taking for granted and walk with an appreciative heart. We dance with joy when counting our blessings and always are thankful for every situation you may face.  It’s nearly impossible to be gloomy when acknowledging the gifts that are present in our lives.  Do away with self-limitations face each day with a positive attitude. When we start each day with a determined attitude, we invite ourselves to learn new things, tackle seemingly difficult challenges. We then experience the joyfulness of self-discovery and accomplishment. It’s time to let go of worry and surrender to the joyous support of people and possibilities.

Invite joy into your life by celebrating. Have festivities to mark transitions and changes in your life. Toast moments of happiness you notice as you go through your day. Dance, jump for joy, shout and rejoice in God as often as possible. Don’t just endure life; enjoy it with the everlasting joy which comes from knowing Christ Jesus.

I Peter 1:8-9  Whom having not seen, you love, though you see him not but believe, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 

 Acts 13:52  And the disciples were full of joy and of the Holy Spirit.joy

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