Where Is Joy?

Why is it when Christmas rolls around, life gets out of control?  It is suppose to be a wonderful time of cookie baking, Christmas shopping, tree picking, party going, Christmas light gazing, family gathering, and church going, right?  Yet, in-between all of those things, sometimes we deal with sickness, deadlines, financial difficulties, deaths, bickering, whining, loneliness, needing a vacation from the vacation.  Where in the world are we suppose to find joy in all of the mess?

I’ve found myself asking that very question this year.  Whenever I planned out my week, things changed and threw me into a forced decision; either I take the red pill of frustration and anger or the blue pill of calm and collected responses to life’s curve balls being thrown at me from all directions.

Normally, my default response is anger and frustration, but I don’t want to be that way this season.  So how do I change?  I need to find true joy!

The thing is, I know I can never find it from the world.  It is impossible.  The world only offers temporary gratification, like a box of Sees Chocolates. =) I don’t want to chase down happiness in empty promises anymore. I want the real deal.

Deep down I know it comes from keeping my eyes on Jesus.  That is the only way I have ever felt true joy in the past.  When I stop looking at Jesus, my mind returns back to the chaos and I take the red pill.  So I am making it my goal this Christmas to get my eyes back onto my relationship with Jesus.  He is so loving and such a great companion.  He has never been unfaithful to me.  I know He has all of the solutions to every conflict I face.  He needs to become my number one priority again.  I don’t know if you can relate to the same struggle I am having.  If you are, let’s pray that God will help us get our eyes off of our problems and onto His love.  As my pastor said, we receive joy from the Holy Spirit’s outpouring of joy over our lives.  We don’t create it, it is poured over us.  Plus, there is so much to be grateful for.  Pray that we counter negative thoughts with thankfulness instead.

I am thankful for being able to serve my family.  I am thankful I was able to sit and watch a show with my teenage kids.  I am thankful that I saw God’s faithfulness and grace today.  I am thankful for a loving husband and loving children who love Jesus.  The list goes on…What is your list?


Don’t Forget to Be Thankful

FOREST CREATURES & WOODLANDS  This was what I needed to be reminded of today as my thoughts slowly began to drift towards the depressive expanse of uncertainty.  I made a phone call to my dad and after he allowed me to spill out what was bound up in my heart, listening with an attentive ear, he gently reminded me to rekindle the practice of being thankful.  He said difficult things just happen and there is nothing we can do to stop them, but what we can do is practice the discipline of being thankful.

So after our encouraging conversation, I dusted off my prayer journal (figuratively speaking) and began listing the top 10 things I was thankful for.  By the time I reached number 10 I realized I had a bunch more I could list.  My eyes were finally looking up and out from under my frustrations and anxieties which made me discover there was an abundance of hope, peace, and joy surrounding me.  So much to be thankful for.

Now as I wait patiently I can rest in the faithfulness and loving kindness of the Lord.

Are you being thankful today?  I want to encourage you to start writing down all of the things in your life that you can be thankful for.  Let’s develop our thankful muscles together!

Lara ~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes