I have had a long struggle with JOY.
There…I admit it. Joy and I have had a tenuous relationship over the years. I know it is not the sort of thing a Christian is supposed to admit, but I am done with Sunday school Christianity. I want to be real and transparent before you and those who circle my life. Although it has been a long while since I wrote a post for the Authentic Christianity series, today’s post is definitely a great fit for that series.
I know all the Bible verses about joy….all 150 or so of them, according to my Bible study tools app:
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ~~ Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. ~~ John 15:11 (NKJV)
This one makes me wonder if my joy-bucket has holes in the bottom of it!!
Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. ~~ John 16:24 (NKJV)
And then there is this gem…..
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, etc.. ~~ Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)
My ‘joy’ tree is sparse on fruit sometimes, let me tell you.
I look at people who are always ‘up’ and bubbly-happy and all ‘it’s a great day to be alive’ and think “I’m not sure what drugs you are taking, but I need a dose”. It’s not that I am chronically depressed, it’s just that I sometimes (okay, well maybe, often) see the world and the glass as half empty. I lean toward the pessimistic side of things, although I will usually tell you that I am more of a realist.
So, with that spilled out all over you, I want to tell you about something I have been doing all year in 2018 to encourage joy in my heart. I will confess that I have waited almost 4 months to share this to make sure it was going to be something that I made into a habit.
I use a Passion Planner for my calendaring needs. Late in 2017 (like, December 31st) the Lord gave me the idea of writing down at least one blessing that came my way every day…..kinda like a blessing journal. I called it “Each Day, 1 Blessing” and decided to write the blessing on my planner. So, at the end of each day I choose one thing from that day that was a blessing or joy to me and write it on the bottom of that day’s calendar page. Some days are easier than others. Some days a blessing or joy jumps right out of my heart and onto the page, while other days, honestly, I have to mine pretty deeply into the events of the day to find something that blessed me.
Here are pictures of some of my entries.
This exercise forces me to intentional about looking for blessing and joy in my life. The things I enter are sometimes BIG things like helping to find sponsors for children in poverty, but other times they are ordinary occurrences in my day like a beautiful sunset. Each entry is a reminder of God’s goodness in my life. This is one of the ways that I am being intentional about CHOOSING to grasp joy for my heart.
How do you encourage joy in your heart?
Do you struggle with joy or some other fruit? I would love to hear from you about your struggle and how you navigate it. Leave me a comment or email me at [email protected]
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