Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I am currently reading a book by Kay Warren entitled "Choose Joy." I happened to find it on clearance and since my word for 2014 is JOY I was drawn to the book.
In the first chapter Kay says that pain is inevitable in all of our lives, but to choose misery because of it, is optional. I do know people who choose to live in misery....you know, those kind of people that the glass is half empty.
I guess for me I am one of the blessed ones....my DAD always found the hope and joy in life and others. He was a glass is half full and overflowing kind of guy. I grew up watching his example for me as he lived his life for others. He had a strong faith, as did my Mom, but because I was Daddy's little girl, I was with him so much at his work, and my mother's hair salon. They both had storefronts around the corner of each other and I could run out the back door from one to another. What I remember most is seeing my Dad give to those who came into his business.....no one EVER left empty handed. My Dad showed much JOY in the simple act of giving and I saw how his JOY affected others.
In "Choosing Joy" Kay also says that we cannot avoid pain, but we can choose to avoid JOY. This is profound to me.....I chose the word JOY this year because so much of scripture relates to JESUS being our JOY. I wanted to have a deeper understanding of this word and what GOD wants.
We all experience those moments of JOY in our lives.....a baby born, a child graduating, a marriage etc. But one thing is certain, this kind of JOY doesn't last. Somehow the business of everyday life creeps in and before you know it, we are up to our neck in problems. Yes, problems are inevitable, but what about that JOY? What about that JOY that James speaks about: "consider it pure JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." So I am supposed to have JOY in the midst of trials?
I find more and more that when bad things happen I turn to HIM.....it becomes a standing on a ROCK kind of being. When my eyes turn to my Savior I realize that I have a treasure and a light to guide me out of those trials. My eyes turn away from myself and turn to the Prize.....my heart's treasure.....nothing this side of Heaven comes close to what I have in HIM!
Because we are HIS.....we must choose JOY! Since JOY begins in the mind, it begins with a new way of thinking, but we must choose JOY first. Over time, it filters into our hearts and finally our souls. Yes, I understand that people are right now dealing with death, with disease, and with heartache. But we also have a Savior who teaches us that we can experience JOY right now in the middle of all these enormous burdens. Jesus's life is a reminder to us all that HE died for our JOY to be complete. To quote Kay Warren in her book: "HIS life gives me permission to seek a life of JOY for myself even in a world of sorrow."
And so I ask you dear reader, to find your JOY in JESUS. And please pray this prayer with me that Kay has written on page 69 in her book:
Thank you for showing me, Jesus, who YOU are, that YOU are a full-of-joy kind of Savior. Jesus, I thank YOU that when YOU were dying on the cross, YOU held out the JOY of being reunited with me. Because of that JOY, YOU made a way for me to come into relationship with YOU. Thank YOU that YOU carried my sin, my rebellion. Thank YOU that YOUR life shows me how to live. Thank YOU for showing me that even in sorrow I can know blessings and JOY and laughter. Teach me what it means to choose JOY. In the name of JESUS, man of JOY, I pray. AMEN.
May you find HIS JOY today......and may you choose it!