I am on a mission.
I am on a mission to live a more abundant and joyful life as Christ designed it. Too many of us are living tired lives, burdened by the weight of the world, barely able to smile on a normal day let alone praise God in the midst of our most troubling times. This cannot be the way God intended us to worship Him.
When I began the mission to “find” joy, however, I realized that I hadn’t the faintest clue what it is or the means by which I could attain it. All I knew was:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:3
It is a part of God’s promise to us and (should be) a result of our relationship with Him. Yet, I am definitely not living a life full of inexpressible and glorious joy.
I would not naturally describe myself as a joyful person. I wouldn’t even say that I am an optimist. I frequently fear and expect the worst from people and life (and sadly, at times, from God too). But I have had enough. I refuse to deny my inheritance for a moment longer. God has promised me joy and I am going to start claiming it.
I had no idea the kind of digging in the past, rooting out wrong beliefs, and learning new habits this journey would entail. I am only now starting to see the bigger picture.
The journey to “find” joy is dependent on the belief that joy is actually a choice. Often, our definition of something affects how we experience it. Many of us have been walking around with an incorrect concept of joy. Joy does not mean smiling all the time and suppressing our more painful or sorrowful emotions.
I finally found what I believe is an accurate definition of joy from Kay Warren. Let us memorize this together and constantly come back to it as our foundation for the journey.
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”
Furthermore, let us remain confident that God wants us to be joyful!! This is the second most important part of our foundation.
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
This is our memory verse for this series.
If you want to go more in depth, here are some of the resources I’m using:
- The Bible
- Choose Joy, Kay Warren
- Habits of Happiness, Rick Warren (rickwarren.org)
- Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pete Scazzero
- Emotionally Healthy Woman, Geri Scazzero
Without further ado, let us begin!!