Tag Archives: 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

Finding Gain through Your Pain

Yesterday I looked in the mirror and saw someone I hadn’t seen in over 25 years. Evidently physical headache pain and emotional pain look the same in the eyes.

I remembered how I used to catch glimpses of my face in unexpected mirrors and be horrified at the anger or fear I saw. I’d think is this what my daughter sees?

Oh God, no! This isn’t what I want her to see as mom, this can’t be comforting!

So when God opened a door for therapy, I jumped at the chance: One of the best decisions of my life. I knew I was uncomfortable and dysfunctional, but had no idea why.

That was 29 years ago. Uncovering the pain was hard work, I’d grown up very good at avoiding it. But it was so much better and easier than carrying it.

I’ve been grateful to catch glimpses of myself in unexpected mirrors the past few years and see a peaceful reflection. I was just as surprised. What a difference.

Don’t let fear block your joy. Most of us carry fear and anger without knowing it, like I did. If you have a chance to sort things out in your head, do it. If you have insurance that covers therapy, get it.

In scripture God asks, “Why will you suffer? Why will you die?” He’s asking because He’s offering life and joy.

We can choose suffering. He will let us. But it’s as if He says to each of us, “I know you need to learn, but do you really need to learn everything the hard way? I’m willing to guide you, just come to Me and ask. You’ll still have hard times. You’ll still have to make choices. But it could be so much easier than what you’re doing.”

Make some good choices today. One of them could be to trust God. He is safe to trust.

As I’ve been saying lately, trade in your pain for joy. Learning how to hang out with God and get His validation is a great place to start. “In His presence is joy…”

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Joy, Living well, Love ed, Mental Health, suffering, What is God like?

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?

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