I’m stuck on my pastor’s remark yesterday, “You are called to build a life of joy!”
Really? I could? Me?
I loved it. And I knew it was coming straight from Phillipians 2–knew it was Biblical. But is it really possible?
He gave the template. He’s great about things like that.
But joy is elusive for me. I have been working for years just to stop seeing what is wrong before I see what is right about life. I have a melancholy-dominant personality type–we’re the thinkers, the contemplatives, but we trend towards negativity easily. It’s been one of the challenges of my life. I have moments of joy, hours of joy. Even sometimes days, but a life of joy? That is something I dream about.
I’m so glad discipline is not too hard for a melancholy, and so grateful that I’ve built in the discipline of an early-morning time with God. This morning He took me to John 17, right to the word “joy”.
I knew the chapter was Jesus prayer for us just before his passion, and I thought it had something about joy in it, and there it was: “I’m saying this in the world so my joy may be fulfilled in them…”
Jesus prayed a lot, and most of what he prayed was not recorded. Five times are all that come to mind, but this he spoke out loud so someone would record it. His prayer for his followers–what he wanted us to know, to have. A life of joy.
I’ve heard about this. Charles deFoucald’s friend described the Trappist monk, “It was as if someone was always singing inside the frail priest, and if you were quiet enough you could hear it too.”
I covet a relationship with God like that.
Does this grab you too?
Would you like to know how to build a life of joy?
Here is the template:
- Recognize the true source of life–my self-worth comes from God
- Forgive others and yourself quickly and without exception (this frees you from hurt and anger)
- Focus on your God-given strengths (what you focus on grows)
- Eliminate negative self-talk (say “stop” to your negative thoughts)
- Introduce joy talk (shouldn’t be hard if you are thinking about it)
- Practice extreme self-care (when I take meticulous care of my mind, body and spirit, I am more likely to make decisions that empower me and keep me full of joy.)
- Dwell on the person God wants for you to be (that gorgeous person in that radiant smile and amazing robe–an earlier blog)
- Think of the wonderful plans God has for you (Jer 29:11–ask him to show you)
- Arise from prayer smiling (or crying–that is sometimes even richer)
- Treat your spouse and children as they could be/should be treated (and they will become it!)
- Take the initiative to act in joy in your relationships (may have to get help on this one) (From The 4:8 Principle–parentheses mine)
Come on, do it with me. It’s the life we’re called to!
Need daily help? See my blog on Jesus’ life: http://Godhelps.net/God-in-a-Box It posts every weeknight at 8:00, and will come to your email inbox free if you sign up. (It will take you through Jesus life in a year–the clearest picture of God we have.)