Tag Archives: choose joy

The Site of Your Next Miracle

I’ve proved it. Your problem can be the site of your next miracle!

The last two mornings I’ve awakened flat and empty, with a dark, drab attitude. This morning it was 1:30, so it made sense–I was afraid I wouldn’t go back to sleep–with a full day ahead. But yesterday there was no reason for it.

I hate feeling like that! Often I wake up with praise music in my head, but if I don’t, negativity is soon there. I have chosen not to worry about it, but to get up and spend time with God. I’ve even decided to be like a child, “Can I stay up with you?” or even better, “Hey, can we stay up all night?” Why not get excited and be audacious? I’m writing Exodus now, and Moses was with God on the mountain top 40 days and nights twice, with no food or water, and probably no sleep! He didn’t need it. God’s presence is amazing and sustaining. Moses’ face was so bright when he came down they could barely look at him! I understand this is different, still…

This morning made two downers in a row.  After my positive choices, to wake up flat and empty carries guilt now. It isn’t “just the way I am” anymore, it feels like missing the mark–so I guess it’s more  like shame–not good enough. I used to come into God’s presence any old raggedy way, but now I want to come with rejoicing. But it wasn’t possible this morning. Or so it seemed.

So I sat in his lap and told Him I was sorry and to take over my mind. It was ok, I prayed for people, but still no rejoicing, pretty much flat still.

I turned to my devotional–this year My Utmost for His Highest. It was about sacrificing your right to yourself or to do it your way. Think Abraham–Thanks for the promise God, I’ll make it happen by having a baby with Hagar.

I can get so caught up in things not happening my way! Or not happening at all. (OR happening my way! A few days ago it was two bad spontaneous faux pas! It’s been a rough week.) It could be spiritual opposition because I’ve been writing about God’s law, and while I think it is awesome, amazing and positive, the rules and details can get challenging when you’re trying to write it as a story and I suppose the dark side saw their advantage therein.

Anyway, the miracle is I saw myself. That is still the biggest miracle of all–to see yourself as you really are. It’s usually very painful, but it’s good pain–healing. This time it wasn’t painful; it was relief–like Oh yeah, it must be me, because You are Joy. Why can’t I be continually joyful like You are? I choose Joy. I give up my right to feel bad. You allow things to be challenging in order to move me where You want me. You couldn’t lead Israel out of Egypt in peace because they didn’t want to leave and Moses wasn’t ready to lead Your way. Make me ready! Let me trust You and your leading!

And after that there was joy all day! A full day on only three hours of sleep!

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Catch Joy

I know you’ve been sick at one time or other. We say you “caught” something. You were exposed by being around someone who has it. If you can catch something bad like a virus, can you catch something good, I wonder?

If joy comes from two main sources: the way you think and God’s presence, we might be able to make a case for it.

God’s graciousness wraps around your heart until joy is the natural result. But it takes time. It doesn’t happen reading a quick verse or two and running out the door. He’s been teaching me to just “be” with Him. Just sit in His presence and talk with Him like you would any friend. And realize that you wouldn’t talk all the time with any friend.

My husband and I watched a great movie last night “Another Perfect Stranger”–a very simple movie, but great because of the “presence” of the stranger–his sense of self–his ability to just be with her. The first time I saw it the strength of his presence stayed with me the whole next day. So I got it from Netflix so my husband could see it. Besides I wanted to see it again.

Do you spend enough time in God’s presence to feel His joy? Are you open to Him? Amazed and overwhelmed by the way He loves you?

Secondly, are you aware of the need to control your thought-life so joy follows? It’s a matter of being aware and choosing.

Your conscious mind can only focus on one thing at a time. Oh I know you have many things in your mind at once–I counted five I was thinking when I ran into the back of someone else years ago. Notice I said you can only “focus” on one thing at a time. Your feelings tell how you are focusing. What you are thinking about.

Are you in charge? or are your thoughts? What you allow in, the quality of its “presence”, what you entertain will determine how you feel.

You can even be like “Janay” Rice and convince yourself that being beat unconcious is a sign of love! That has obviously been her experience, her thinking, until she believes it. It is evidently working for her. But I can tell you as a veteran marriage therapist, that is NOT love, I don’t care what you believe. And she doesn’t look joyful. She looks beaten down–selfless. Battered-woman-syndrome selfless.

Good selflessness is when you have enough self to forget about yourself and just be. You have to have a sense of self that will not let you be beat down and call it love. Love builds up. Love should look joyful. Being loved is joyful–even when it’s hard.

Gratitude in hard times is called the sacrifice of praise. You can praise because you are loved by a God who is good, no matter what is going on in your life.

But that leads you to make good choices–good thinking always does–even when they are hard choices.

Got hard times? Start talking through them and thinking through them with the God who loves you wildly–crazily even. He will help you see new perspectives that lead to new choices. He will even give strength to make them.

Good choices make a good life–one that catches joy.

 

 

 

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Filed under A God perspective, battered women syndrome, Becoming real, Joy, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Marriage, Respect and disrespect, Uncategorized

Joy Filters

Your feelings of joy–or lack of them–do not reveal the quality of your life. They reveal the quality of your thinking.

I know this to be true. Yesterday I experienced it again.

I woke up crabby, and it continued until mid-morning when suddenly I said to God, “Why am I so crabby? I have no reason to be.” Instantly the above thought came to mind, and I realized that I had been thinking very negative thoughts.

Why?  I don’t know.

I may have awakened with a headache again. It’s been happening with more regularity than not lately. Have been wondering if I’m clenching my teeth in my sleep from stress (although I’m not aware of any), or if I have a sinus infection with no symptoms but a headache.

Maybe it got to me and I started looking through a negative filter.

Normally, I’ve been going about my life with so much gratitude. I have a fabulous life. I love everything about it. With God’s help I built it.

Of course it could be better, I could be nearer my kids and grand kids, I could be retired, my books could be selling more, I could have more money…and before you know it I’m off on a negative bent.

It’s so crazy what a little thing like a filter can do to a day or a life.

“Be careful how you see…”

No wonder Jesus said that in many ways over and over. How you perceive things determines how you think. How you think determines how you feel. How you feel determines how your life looks to you, and soon what you believe.

It’s like the body’s inflammation cascade–one thing starts another, that starts another, that sets off another until you are sick or anxiety riddled. And it may have been just a thought.

If I perceive something as negative when it wasn’t, like thinking an old rope in the path is a snake, I’ll have a bad reaction. If I won’t look to see that the snake is merely a rope, then the truth can’t do me any good. I’ll walk on in fear.

However, if I stop and look and see that what I thought was a snake was really a rope, then no matter how many times I look at it again I won’t be afraid of it. I might even let the relief bring me humor and joy.

Of course, I could choose to focus on worrying if there will be a real snake down the road. That’s called borrowing trouble. And a lot of us do it. It’s easy to fall into.

Why should I ruin today with tomorrow’s fear?

If God is good, and personally interested in everything we do…

“But evil lives here too! bad things happen!” you interject.

And you’d be right. But if you have given yourself to God, only what He allows can happen to you. And if He allows it then good can come from it unless you rebel.

So don’t get angry or fearful. Take it as God believing in you–there’s a whole universe watching. It’s  a complement–an honor. Who knows what He can do.

It is your choice. Check your filters often and change them if they need it.

And by the way, the rest of my day went much better after I changed my thinking.

 

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Joy, Living well, Loved, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

My Mother Taught Me to Fly…

is written on a tiny piece of wood on my dresser. I gave it to Mom a few years before she died.

It seems appropriate to continue my joy-writing on my mother’s birthday. She was a person of joy even though she had a difficult life and didn’t get what she really wanted. In some ways I think she got more.

She so wanted an education. They couldn’t afford it. She needed to work to help the family. It was still the Depression.

She wanted to become an artist and a writer–she had dreams and ambition–she was a strong woman. But not strong enough to withstand my father’s advances. She got married at 19.

She has duplicated herself six times over. She put her strength into her children. And her strength was a desire to know God’s love, experience it, and share it.  I believe everyone of her children achieved that before death, or are still achieving it as the highest priority of their lives (my two brothers preceded her in death).

That is quite an accomplishment. In my mind, it is the highest. Is their anything that matters more than giving your kids the most important foundation in life? Anything more important than knowing and being loved by God?

Health is important because without it your mind and body will find it harder to make those chemical-electrical connections in your brain that lead to good choices. But it only makes all the important things in life easier, it’s not the thing.

Knowing how to receive love and give it is important. But again, that is only harder without getting it first from parents and then from God.

Being able to choose your perspective is very important because that forms healthy (constructive) or unhealthy (destructive) beliefs and choices. (Poor Robin Williams–who felt he had no more good choices! And we are amazed that one with so much could feel and think that.)

Scripture says that joy is in the presence of God. If you don’t know that–never learned it–you are definitely handicapped, life is harder.

Do you know how to go into God’s presence? Do you know how to experience His love?

My devotional this morning says, “I crafted you with enormous capacity to know Me and enjoy My Presence… The more you focus on My Presence with  you, the more fully you can enjoy your life.” This is Jesus speaking (Jesus Calling, 2008)

But what if you have never done that? Don’t even know God or Jesus?

An easy place to start is a choice. Set aside ten minutes to be with Him. Tell Him you want to meet with Him every day and have His joy, then  go to “God in your Face” (facebook) OR http://Godhelps.net/Godinabox and read  the day’s short reading on Jesus’ life. He was our clearest picture of God. While reading, breathe in seven seconds and out seven and keep breathing rhythmically while trying to imagine being there. (This is meditation and 12 minutes a day for 30 days has been shown to change physical numbers.)

Make that a habit and you will have a great start on knowing God and experiencing Joy. And my mother’s legacy will reach you, and who knows, maybe even your children! It is the best legacy you can give.

My mother didn’t miss out. She will have eternity to create art. She already created six masterpieces. I know that because they will last through eternity. What great artist can say that?

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Grief, Health, Joy, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Parenting, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Adding Joy

This morning I got up late but the most beautiful sight greeted me. The whole sky was covered with broken clouds and the sun had just come up behind them. It was catching on some of them. I had to go outside and look and be part of it.

Right above me was a bright collection, and then here and there were bright spots of clouds. It was interesting to me that not all the clouds were lit up. A few on the horizon and to either side of the sun,  a few  diagonally, a cluster to the side of those above me, and as I turned around they extended in a few patches to the other horizon, where were more–evidently just the ones that were on the same elevation.

I couldn’t help but think it was like us. Not everyone catches the Son’s radiance. Just those who are on the same wave-length–those who want it, and believe they are loved.

I believe Love is the ultimate energy and that God is Love. I don’t think He is just abstract energy, He (They–in my mind) are very personal, at times almost taking my breath away and making me cry to imagine being so loved–so sweetly, personally, loved. This energy is real. To the point of changing physical numbers. (More on this next time.) This time I want to finish with the three laws of the mind out of Philippians.

My friend walked up to me after church yesterday and said, “I thought of you–you could have given that sermon.”

I admitted I’d thought that for the last three weeks. But to know it and apply it–ah, that’s two different things. But it’s been a good week of reading the list in the last post every day, so they come to mind off and on.

First you set your intention–“the want to” factor–have to have that. Then you expose your mind–like getting on the same wave-length. Paul isn’t saying pretend to be joyful, he is saying change the way you think (3:15, 4:8) and change your habits.

He’s talking about the three laws of the mind: the law of attention–what you focus on grows; the law of exchange–eliminate some thoughts and actions and choose the good; and the law of reversibility–action and thinking turn into feelings. If you focus, choose, and act “as if” God loves you, as if you are positive about that, it will become your reality and joy will overtake you.

To a large extent, we create our own reality. If you don’t like your feelings or situation, change your thinking and actions, hold to it and watch your life change. Feelings follow thoughts and actions. You can’t control other peoples’ thoughts or actions, but you can control your own by choice, and your feelings will change. After a little while your life will change too.

Add some joy to your life.

 

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