Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fighting For Joy

Tonight I sit fighting for joy; overwhelmed by the pressure I put on myself. There is that constant pile of never ending laundry, the cooking, cleaning, playing with the boys, instructing, book reading, the lawn that needs mowing, the gifts that need purchasing, plus that real full time job that provides ample work; there is the Bible reading, the letter writing, the time spent serving, the time spent disciplining, and the list could go on and on. As I sit here struggling to find joy in the midst of it all, my husband asks what he can do to help. I have no answer. The real issue isn't what I or He can do to check those boxes and complete that never ending list - for there is always a list and always things that need to be done. The real question is "Why am I choosing to live a stressed out life, instead of choosing a heart of thankfulness which generates a spirit of everlasting and contagious joy?" After all Joy is the second fruit of the spirit, so if you have the Holy Spirit you posses unending joy!

Joy is a choice that is worthy of fighting for. I've been choosing to selfishly accomplish those things that bring immediate happiness or accomplishment, yet missing the blessings from those things that take time to develop - like investing quality time in my kids, by ignoring those phone calls that can wait and just being with the kids doing what they want to do - no agenda, no schedule, just a box of cars and a nice dirt pile. Now schedules are needed and often necessary, but the schedule is just a guide, it won't scold you if its not followed to the minute or even the hour (I wrote that as a reminder to myself)! Joy is only found in God, all the rest is just happiness - which always disappoints. Happiness is based on circumstances, joy flourishes amidst harsh circumstances because it is filled and energized by the One who created us - Jesus Christ Himself.

Have you ever met a person who puts you in a great mood just by being around them? We had a lady at our old church named Cindy. Every time I saw her she would wave at me, she would smile and ask wonderful questions that inspired me to talk. When I would leave her presence I always had a smile on my face and an extra leap in my step. She has always been a model to me of how godly joy can change lives - not just momentarily but also for eternity. Cindy's witness to others was vibrant and real! Her joy was contagious and she was happy to share about the source of that joy! I want to be like that. True lasting joy isn't ever faked, it is always genuine!

So tomorrow is a new day and God says that "joy comes in the morning!" I am choosing to be filled with joy the moment my head lifts from the pillow! Tomorrow may not accomplish anything on my to-do-list, in fact my list may grow longer, but life won't end. I am choosing to not be stressed, I'm choosing to give it all to the Lord and allow Him help me. Below is a great list I found while searching for some ideas on choosing joy, I loved John Piper's suggestions and will be practicing many of them tomorrow! Today is a gift - that's why they call it the present!

How Shall We Fight for Joy?
By John Piper
January 1, 1995

1. Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift.
2. Realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly.
3. Resolve to attack all known sin in your life.
4. Learn the secret of gutsy guilt - how to fight like a justified sinner.
5. Realize that the battle is primarily a fight to see God for who he is.
6. Meditate on the Word of God day and night.
7. Pray earnestly and continually for open heart-eyes and an inclination for God.
8. Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself.
9. Spend time with God-saturated people who help you see God and fight the fight.
10. Be patient in the night of God's seeming absence.
11. Get the rest and exercise proper diet that your body was designed by God to have.
12. Make a proper use of God's revelation in nature.
13. Read great books about God and biographies of great saints.
14. Do the hard and loving thing for the sake of others (witness and mercy). 15. Get a global vision for the cause of Christ and pour yourself out for the unreached.

1 comment:

Megan said...

I was having the exact same stuggle as you, the same day... It was comforting to read your post and remember that I am not alone with my feelings. Alexa was really sick Thursday and Friday, some sort of upper respiratory infection so I did not think she needed to wake up early and get any other babies sick at M2M! I hope she is goind better next week since it is the last meeting before Christmas!

I would like to bring the girls to your house soon to play, will you let me know if there is a good time/day for you??