As Providence would have it, last Sunday I preached a message titled “Fighting for Joy in a World of Worry,” only to have Sunday afternoon and Monday morning unfold in such a way that I had to put what I preached into practice. I think at one time or another we’ve all been there. So, I wanted to share it. Here are the main points.
Decide for Joy
Each and every day, sometimes even moment by moment, we all have a decision to make: we all have to decide if we will allow worry to affect our joy. This week, my truck broke down while I was taking my daughter to school. But I decided to be joyful about the fact that it didn’t break down while my wife was driving back from Orlando last week or while I was still on the highway with my daughter or in the drop-off point where it would’ve caused a huge roadblock (undoubtedly being a giant embarrassment). In other words, I decided to focus on things that brought me joy rather than the inconvenience that didn’t.
Although deciding for joy may seem like a ridiculously small step, it’s the first and most important step to living a live that is joyful, because, if you don’t decide to live a life of joy, then you most certainly won’t.
Plot for Joy
Joy has never just happened to anyone. If we want to experience joy on a day-to-day basis, then, after we decide for it, we have to plot for it. That means creating boundaries in our calendar that keep the good inside but the bad outside. For my wife and I, as it relates to this particular situation, we have a AAA membership (PS: it’s worth every dollar). That means that even trying events that can steal joy, like my car breaking down on a Monday morning, can be avoided with a little “plotting.”
Here are some basics:
- keep a healthy prayer life: maintaining a healthy relationship to God is paramount to a life of joy. It helps us remain strong during trails and also gives us perspective, which is the next point.
- keep a wide perspective: we believe that the world revolves around us, but a little learning, a little broadening of our perspective will quickly remedy that mentality!
- keep a regimen: a schedule guards your heart and mind from concerns that could invade your calendar and potentially steal your joy. Major on majors. Minor on minors.
Don’t wait for joy to simply happen to you…
Celebrate for Joy
Finally, we have to celebrate for joy. Each and every moment that we’re alive, we should find a simple reason to celebrate, reasons that we often overlook and casually dismiss.
- celebrate Jesus, who never changes and is faithful (Hebrews 13:8)
- celebrate our Heavenly Father, who awaits our presence (Philippians 1:21-22)
- celebrate family and friends, whom God has given us to travel through life with (Matthew 19:23-30)
Don’t wait for joy to simply happen to you before you decide to be joyful. Decide. Plot. Celebrate. Joy is a virtue of people who have decided not to allow the world’s worry to negatively affect them, control them, or dictate to them what kind of person or what kind of life they’re going to lead. How about you? Will you decide for joy?