Immense joy is found when we are truly “JOY” filled; “Jesus, Others, Yourself” We must look to the Heavens for this “Comfort and Joy” sung this time of year up through the Epiphany; “Fear not,” then said the Angel, “let nothing you affright, this day is born a Savior of pure Virgin bright, to free all those who trust in Him from satan’s power and might.” O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy!
I often wonder if the folks who sang this song in the 16th century had any idea the words would resonate with folks of today’s age as it did in their time? When one is filled with JOY, we learn to trust God each day. This takes some practice as we are living in the world but trying to not live of the world. God always has a positive answer to our “affrights”– when we hear ourselves say “it’s impossible” God says All things are possible (Luke 18:27) when we say “I can’t figure things out” God says I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6) or what I call the waaah factor … “I can’t do it” … God says You can do all things (Philippians 4:13) and so each day begins with a level of trust that simply cannot be allowed to waiver throughout the day.
We can shore up our joy up by listening to positive and spiritually uplifting music (Ashana and Amy Grant!), reading books that lift our mental outlook (He Leadeth Me: An Extraordinary Testimony of Faith, Joy: A Study of Philippians) and my favorite approach–press your nose and state out loud “DELETE!” and those negative thoughts disappear from your mind as you replace them with positive thoughts, ideas and action. This will become a daily practice as implementation of any change takes at least thirty days to develop the better habit, but as St. Augustine said “It is solved by walking!” so get out and exercise in the fresh air–move it-action! Exercise stimulates good energy as you are moving your body through time and space, listening to the early morning chirping of birds and rustlings of small mammals in the snow laden leaves. Enjoy the magic of the sunrise as you tread through your neighborhood, you might even catch a flick of the tail of the fox who is heading to sleep under your shed.
Practicing “Jesus, Others, Yourself” one finds negative thoughts and situations disappear when being in service to Christ and someone other than your ego. Living joyfully takes practice. Upon rising in the morning, the first scent greeting you is not pre-set percolating coffee but dog poo … can you rise above this and choose to be joyful toward the dog? Yes. God created this creature who seems to vex you at every turn. Look upon this as an opportunity to practice joy and continue to smile, then call your husband downstairs to have him clean up the poop (it’s his dog!) you can indeed, make that choice! As St.Teresa of Avila stated “I don’t want to be a dour faced saint!” Again, a decision to be happy. My Grandmother Hall told me “no matter how bad things seem to be, life is always brighter when you put on a little lipstick!” And she did, and I do and it is! Peace.