Faithful Living: Keep your life filled with joy
By JOAN BAY KLOPE
Whidbey News Times Columnist
May 6, 2011 · Updated 1:02 PM
Joy is not in things, it is in us.
--Richard Wagner, 1813-1883
While I am attempting to simplify my life by letting go of unnecessary obligations, I am also enjoying what is “in” this spring, even as I remind myself that my commitment to simplification also means reducing the clutter in my home, not significantly adding to it. Nonetheless, walking down the home décor and gardening aisles is nothing but fun to me. I love to mosey.
And yet, I’m also aware that the more some of us peruse those aisles, read the magazines, and watch HGTV, the more inadequate our homes often feel. These images actively create great expectations, even as we combine trips into town and turn the thermostat down to accommodate the huge rise in fuel prices.
These changes, beyond our control, sure can be joy busters if we allow them to be. So can some of the choices we make, all by ourselves.
We lose joy when we feel alone in the world. This can happen when there are unresolved relationships or situations in our lives. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Flexibility. Servanthood. Generosity. These are choices that restore joy and bring us back into relationship with people and away from isolation.
We lose joy when expectations go wild and crash into reality. Forget about creating lives that look perfect on the outside. God wants us to embrace the joy in the little things. The child who wakes you in the middle of the night to say, “I love you.” The neighbor who mows your lawn after finishing up his. The friend who tears up when you share cupcakes you’ve just made. Think less about how you’ll afford the new rug under the dining table. Go for the meaningful.
We lose joy when we exhaust ourselves, believing that constant scheduling means we love more. Look ahead and don’t wait to the last minute. Take all your plans and search your heart for your motivations. Then head into the next few months with additional ease. Be willing to adjust your schedule and slow down. Do not scrimp on your rest. Who wants to look great on the outside and on the inside experience exhaustion and misery?
We lose joy when our public lives look nothing like our private lives. Make certain you are talking about and living the real deal. Do not speak about peaceful coexistence and fight like cats and dogs every time you get together with friends and family. Build joy into the coming weeks by doing what you say you’re doing. Slow down. Schedule time for specific activities with family and friends. Simplify areas not necessary so you can make time for those who depend on you. Design quality time this summer to relax and communicate. Make time to spend with God, to pray and seek His comfort, healing, hope, patience, understanding, and growth. Be the real deal and your joy will compound.
God promises joy, again and again. Let’s be open to His blessings and decorate our lives with joy.
Reach Joan Bay Klope at email@example.com.