Friday, September 13, 2013

How do you live a life of joy?

Cindee Snyder Re
Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content. ~Helen Keller

It is through the loss of what we have falsely hidden our comforts in, that we find true contentment for our hearts. In that loss we loose everything, and in that we find Christ; and a decision to make.

Do you have a discontent heart? A heart that slants towards the selfish?

If the success of our day or the joy of our mood is dictated by everything going our way, or hitting the green light and not getting stuck in traffic on the interstate then we have vastly missed the purpose of our existence as Christians, and we are living a self absorbed centrally focused life. How deeply rooted in Christ’s joy can we claim to be when something as simple as missing a green light can completely derail us; sending us into a downward spiral of rage and fury.

How about those flat tires?  That long line at the DVM? Those two pesky pounds that won't just melt off even though you ran a 5K yesterday?

How can we handle adversity or trials when we can’t even handle the check out line at Walmart?

God grows our character through testing and hardship.  I wonder what it looks like to Him when we cant even handle the gas station pumps that don’t automatically lock forcing you to stand there and hold the trigger in!

Seriously....why are we so demanding when technology confounds us?

I think there comes a time when you have to evaluate your heart and be honest with yourself. I don’t think that we can claim to be filled with God’s love and joy only to have it dissolve because our expectations disintegrate because of an email that shouldn't have been sent or our expectations didn't meet what our day actually looked like.

You might be thinking your life maybe didn't turn out the way you wanted it to. Maybe you are living somewhere you don’t like, away from your children. Maybe your children grew up differently than you had planned. Maybe you never had children.  Maybe you got turned down for adoption.  Just maybe you are afraid to speak a dream...

You never got promoted in your job, or your family takes advantage of you…
Your spouse just up and left you...
You bailed your teen out of jail for the stinkin' last time...
You have been dealt the hand of discouragement day after day and now...
Your day yesterday was the worst in every which way...

Life just keeps rubbing you unhappy in your crooked smile and frowny forehead.  You just need a break from your life, a vacation, a reset of attitude, a little more hope that proverbial light that people say is really at the end of your life's tunnel.

I think that what makes having a discontent heart tough is that it sneaks up on you. It starts with something small and it grows. As it grows and starts to form a bitterness root that consumes over time, seeping into all areas of your life. Before you know it, you forget what joy is, and how it feels.

I really like the Helen Keller quote that I put at the top. If anyone has a true reason to be discontent with the way their life turned out it would be those that society deems handicapped. Helen Keller may not have been able to hear or see but she believed that she could be happy and content in any situation.

Do you notice the difference in her world and yours?

The difference was in her perspective of the darkness. Helen's darkness was dark no matter what and nothing was going to change that, but she knew she COULD change her perspective of it. If Helen could find wonder in the darkness and silence then how much more can we as Christians find wonder in the dark places of our lives. If Helen could find contentment in the silence she lived in then how much more should we find our hearts happy when we think God is silent to our prayers.

Being deeply rooted in Christ, we can have access to a joy that nothing in this life can take away. By putting our trust and faith in God alone we are able to endure any situation no matter how painful it may be. By understanding that we are here to worship God through life and spread the truth of His love; rather than Him being here to grant our desires and wishes we are granted the ability to find joy in any situation that life throws at us.

Philippians 4:11  "...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty,  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Paul knew true joy and lived it.

Yes, I know...I am learning this too in my life as well...with...

Anything and everything.  Even those aggravating lines at Wal-Mart.

There is nothing on this planet that is greater than God. There is nothing that can take away God’s love for us, or the unspeakable joy that comes from being in His presence. There is no situation that causes God to be afraid and remove Himself from it. We are granted the right and the privilege to be carriers of joy as we sit in traffic, stand in line at Walmart, get over looked at work, taken advantage of by friends, or live with noisy roommates.

Our hearts should not be discontent because of our circumstances, but because the Lord is not Lord over our lives. Our unhappiness is evidence that we have not given up our own expectations and fully surrendered ourselves to God. If we do this we become adaptable to any situation, and usable at God's choosing.

I don't know about you but I want to live a life of complete surrender. A life of joy rooted in the peace that comes from being content with Christ and His plan for me; not rooted in how well my circumstances treat me. I want to be used like no one else can be used, and be sent where no one else will go. I want to be unshakable…remembered....as a world changer for Christ.

Go bold or go home.

My desire for those of you reading this is that you take some time and find the dark places, and the things that rub you the wrong way ask yourself what the deep issue is. When we are unhappy with the things in our life then we are unhappy with the one who placed us around those things. Always remember that to surrender your life to Christ is to live in the constant wonder and amazement and joy of who He is and the price He paid with His own blood for our lives.

See you when we come out of our prayer closets?
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