Friday, June 3, 2011

What's so Important about Joy?

This week I had a quiet panic attack when I realized I’d left my residence permit --the one that costs $60 along with the $600 application fee-- at my daughter’s skating center.  I kept it quiet because I was desperately hoping to retrieve it before my dear husband found out! Praying and holding my breath all the way, I raced to the center in the car with my two kids.   I must have been uptight because as we walked into the building I accidentally dropped my glasses right in my daughter’s path.  I let out an involuntary scream, “Don’t walk on my glasses!”  She pretended not to know me.

Fortunately the trusty handy man had found and locked up my residence permit for safekeeping. After I picked it up, I went into the parking lot and tried to get into someone else’s car.

“Uh, Mom,” my son said.  “That’s not our car.” That had been why my key wasn’t working.

Next we drove to the pet shop.  After making my purchase I walked out of the store and left my credit card on the counter.

The shop keeper came out running.  “Ma’am, don’t forget your card!”

I thought, “Hmm, am I seeing a pattern here?” That’s when I started laughing. All the way back home, I turned up the music, and my kids and I laughed about my mishaps.

One of my goals is to be a more joyful person even when life’s glitches come up. Sometimes it helps just to stop and laugh at myself. On challenging days I try to take a deep breath and tell myself, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

For me joy is not just extra frosting on the cake of life. It is crucial to a fulfilling life. Joy gives me strength.  Joy gives me a new lens on life, but it’s not just something that happens to me when all of my problems are solved and everything works out okay.  It doesn’t always fall into my lap.

Joy is something I can cultivate.  Here are ways I seek to do that:

  • Enjoy God
One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 16: “In your presence there is fullness of joy.” This reminds me that no matter what happens, I can take joy in God’s presence with me and in his love for me. 

  • Enjoy Life

Let’s face it. A lot of life is pretty ho-hum. Sometimes it’s difficult. I pray often, “God, help me to enjoy the life you’re giving me today.” I want to embrace my life today, and try to enjoy even the simple, mundane tasks. I want to savor simple pleasures like conversations around the dinner table.

  • Laugh and smile as much as I can

It’s amazing how smiling can change my attitude on a bad day. 

  • Make room in my life for things I enjoy

Here is a list of practical things I can do to increase the level of joy in my life.

  1. Walk in the park.
  2. Call a friend on the phone.
  3. Plant flowers on my balcony.
  4. Reach out to someone who may need encouragement.
  5. Make time for friends.
  6. Talk to my kids or my husband about what interests them.
  7. Drink Turkish coffee with my neighbors.
  8. Cook some slow food.
  9. Read a good book.

What do you enjoy doing? How do you seek to keep a positive attitude?


John K. said...

Another verse which comes to my mind is Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT):

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Linda said...

Thanks for the smiles. I do those kinds of things, too. And bless you for your choice to seek laughter and joy! Thank you that inspiration today!


OliveTree said...

Thanks John, I love the NLT version of that Philippians verse. "Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done..." You should check out the Message version too, it is great.

Barb said...

Thanks for sharing the adventures of your brought a smile to my face:)
When back in the states several months ago, my daughter was waiting in her car for me as I ran into a store for something....when I came out I opened the car door and was nearly sitting down when I noticed it wasn't my daughter in the car. Yikes! the poor lady in that car about had a heart attack and I was so shocked myself...I still laugh about it and so this story reminded me of my blunder. Hope you have a great day and an enjoyable week in the Lord.

OliveTree said...

Funny story, Barb! Thanks for sharing.