March 9, 2012
After all the cold weather, we’ve had some great days of 60+ degree weather. What a refreshing break. Tells me Spring must be right around the corner. Can’t wait … so many great changes … life … energy … color … activity. And one of the best things about Spring: it means Summer is right around the corner. Summer is my favorite time of year … hot weather, the beach, and the family trip to Dorney Park, our local adventure and water park. My girls and I love the roller coasters but each one of them had to make the transition from fear to amazement and joy.
As we pursue our relationship with God and draw closer to Him, a few characteristics should become more evident in our lives. Joy is one of those characteristics. Christianity is joyful. And joy is good for your health … physically, psychologically, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually. During difficult times, we might not always have laughter, but God provides joy in all of our circumstances. The Bible describes practical steps to joy and ways to laugh more.
Try to stop taking yourself so seriously! Take time for laughter, for fellowship. Learn to enjoy hanging out with yourself. Start each day out by rejoicing. Thank God for another day. Thank Him for the opportunities ahead of you. Thank Him for his love and abundant grace. Involve happy people in your life. Smiling faces make you feel happy. Laughter is actually contagious, just go to a kid’s birthday party.
Initially, my girls never thought something like Steel Force or Talon could ever be joyful. They looked at how big and daunting they appeared and assumed only bad feelings and outcomes would occur.
You see, just like rollercoasters, once we get past our fears joy is abundant. Once we realize the designer and operator are in control and that we are safe, we can enjoy the ride. In fact, what we experience is beyond joyful, it’s actually exhilarating. Well, God is the ultimate rollercoaster operator. He’s designed ups and downs in the ride, but it is planned for our growth and maximum joy. Your fear comes when you believe you or someone else fallible designed it, or are in charge. Paul realized who designed and operated his life’s rollercoaster. So he could be joyful in all circumstances. He knew how the ride would end and threw his arms up and yelled (sang) with exhilaration during the peaks and dips of all the rollercoaster rides of his life. And Paul had many steep falls in his ride.
Today, simplify your life in order to enjoy God’s goodness. Examine what you fear and why. Identify the circumstances you think you control. When you trust God, you will be free of fear, and joy will be abundant in every circumstance. Sometimes we all get so involved in our “to-do” lists and worrying about tomorrow that we miss enjoying the moment. Remember the old adage: Take time to smell the roses! Your life, your rollercoaster, is your decision, so choose well.
O Master Designer, thank You for providing joy in every circumstance. Help me to experience a cheerful heart in every part of the rollercoaster ride You designed especially for me. Help me to walk in Your freedom and to laugh often. Build my trust in You so I can live free of fear and embrace all You sovereignly bring into my life for my growth. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who is the true source of all joy, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22
Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness. And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. Exodus 14:12,13