Tag Archives: finding you/ joy/ love

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?

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

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.)

 

 

 

 

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July 20, 2014 · 3:24 pm

Life with a Twist

Don’t you love this time of year?

New leaves are coming out. Everything is blooming, splashing color everywhere. Wherever I look in my back yard there are flowers. The fragrance of Jasmine has given way to the heavenly smell of Orange blossoms, and the Honeysuckle this week in my office (my gazebo) has been amazing. Everything is waking up to new life–exploding with it.

It seems strange to encounter death in this season of life, but so it happens. Just yesterday it interrupted life again for one of my friends whose father died. Another friend had the second anniversary of her husband’s sudden death, her young children’s father. I left messages for them and was blessed to get responses of praise. I know these people and they were not pretending. They “…have learned to walk in the Presence of Life and are happy” even in their pain.*

That is quite a feat, quite an accomplishment. And it doesn’t come without pain. It’s the learning to choose joy that makes you rise above it to a bigger perspective. And there is a bigger perspective to be had. Part of the life we experience this time of year comes from the anniversary of the Lifegiver giving us freedom to choose life and joy. And lets face it, with the spector of death dogging us, joy is not always easy to choose.

Can we really choose joy? Yes!

If you aren’t familiar with scripture, it is full of places that say we can.

It comes in the presence of the Lifegiver. He is the source of life and joy. One of my favorite quotes is from David the psalmist who says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. “*

How do we get into His presence?

Simply ask and then become aware. Gratitude is one of the doorways to His presence. Just noticing the beauty and fragrance all around you can remind you of the Source of beauty and joy and love.

Another doorway is your need. Again you have choice. All you have to do is ask. Hope is readily available. Part of the beauty of spring is the hope of newness coming.

Need more than just encouragement to choose?

Absorb that God delights in you. That He sings over you, rejoices in you.* That He wants you in His presence–wants to be in your presence.

This morning He said to me, “If you love being in My presence, you can love every moment, because I am always with you.”*

It’s my choice to see Him everywhere, or not. I can notice the flowers, the fragrance, or not. I can spend the 10-30 seconds it takes to anchor joy in my brain or I can move on in one or two, and not notice His love of beauty and me. It’s all my choice, but He’s here.

 

*my paraphrase of Psalm 89:15,  Psalm 16:11,  Zephaniah 3:17,  Matthew 28:20

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