Sunday, May 8, 2011

Seek Joy, Not Happiness

OK.... I know that I have written a lot about the book "God Chicks" by Holly Wagner. Let me say that this book has changed my perspective in my responsibilities as a Christian! In the chapter, 'The Party Chick' Wagner tells us that "What will set us (Christians) apart from most of the world is being able to rejoice even in the midst of challenges." She goes on to encourage us to "search (seek) for joy. Joy isn't some flighty, fluffy emotion. It is far more powerful than being happy. It is the steel that runs through your body. It is your strength." WOW!!!!!!!! My focus is NOT to be happy.... it is to be JOYFUL! The Bible has a lot to say about being joyful--- "But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful." Psalm 68:3 "yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior" Hab. 3:18 "Be joyful in hope, patient, in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12 "Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thess. 5:16-18 The things that are happening around me (good AND bad) should not affect my joy..... My joy comes from my relationship with God and the sacrifice He made because of His love for me. Even when I am upset about something, I can still have joy. Even when things are going wonderfully, I can have joy. One of the ways that I can be more joyful is by seeking the good in people/things.... the more I encourage joyfulness in my life, the more I will be joyful! Not only should I increase my own joyfulness, I should also encourage others to be joyful! Wagner says, "Our words are powerful tools that can bring hurt or healing. Let's be determined to be the chick whose words bring life (or joy)". How many times have we relied on others to encourage us? George M. Adams said, "There are low spots in our lives, but there are also high spots, and most of them have come through encouragement from someone else." In other words, when we are on top of the mountain (rather than down in the valley), it is because someone has helped us to get there. Just as others have lifted us up, we should lift up those who need encouragement. We have to be observent to the needs of others around us. We cannont be so self-centered that we miss the opportunities to help others. Wow..... how often have I ignored the needs of others because I was too focused on myself? How many times have I let others' words or actions steal my joy? Lord, help me to take focus off of myself. Help me to encourage others and help them to seek the joy that only comes from you. Help me to remember that my happiness is not what I should focus on. Help me to seek JOY. Amen

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