May 18, 2016
With spring in full swing and school winding down, we’ve been enjoying some great days of 70-80 degree weather and the fun activities spring brings. What a refreshing break from the cold, gray, and isolating winter. So many great changes … life … energy … color … sports … yard work … weekend outings. One of the best things about spring is that 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 the depths of fear to amazing heights of exhilarating joy.
Initially, my girls never thought roller coasters like Steel Force or Talon could ever be joyful. They looked at how huge and daunting they appeared, and assumed only bad feelings and outcomes would occur.
You see, in life, just as with roller coasters, once we get past our fears, joy is abundant. Once we realize the designer’s (God’s) intent, that the operator (God) is in control, and that we are safe, we can enjoy the ride. In fact, what we experience is beyond joyful. It’s actually exhilarating.
As we pursue our relationship with God and draw closer to Him, joy is one characteristic that should become more evident in our lives. 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 towards joyfulness.
Try to stop taking yourself so seriously! Take time for laughter and 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 help you focus on the positive and then you feel happier. Laughter is actually contagious, (just go to a kid’s birthday party.)
God is the ultimate rollercoaster operator. He has designed ups and downs in the ride, but they’re planned for our growth and maximum joy. Our fear comes when we believe that we or some other fallible human designed it or is 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 don’t enjoy the moment. Remember the old adage: Take time to smell the roses! Your life, your rollercoaster. Whether you live with joy during the ups and downs of your life, or you live in fear 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 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