Today’s blog post is written by Lesli Thomas. Lesli is a woman who walks an authentic life of faith. She has been married to Chris for 11 years and they have two adorable boys, Cooper (6) and Brody (4). Lesli loves her morning Dr. Pepper, Mexican food, painting, and organizing things.
I recently debated if I was ready to claim a word for 2015 and the one that continued to rise to the surface was JOY. Admittedly, I kept pushing it back down really feeling like that would be quite an overwhelming task to grab ahold of… I mean JOY in and of itself is a wonderful state of mind that we all would love to live in, right? But when the going gets tough — JOY is A LOT! Then I was reading in Beth Moore’s Children of the Day study where she put into words just what I had been struggling with. She says, “Joy in hardship is WEIRD… and weird means strange or extraordinary character… and to delight while walking through (life) one must be either delusional, detached, or engulfed by the Holy Spirit!” Joy is a “sustainable quality that shows who we really are and to whom we belong!”
So, because JOY is my word for the year, I did some research on WHAT JOY IS:
1. Joy is Something we can BE – full of JOY.
Be Joyful! Grow in Maturity. Encourage each other. Live in Peace. And the God of Love and Peace will be with you. ~ 2 Corinthians 13:11
2. Joy is an Action we Choose; not an Emotion we Feel.
Be Joyful Always, Pray continually, Give Thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
3. Joy is Something we have to Fight to Possess Sometimes.
The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the JOY that’s coming. ~ Romans 8:18
JOY comes in the morning! ~ Psalm 30:5
Be truly glad. There is wonderful JOY ahead. ~ 1 Peter 1:6
4. Joy is an Inside Job that Bursts Forth.
A Joyful Heart is good medicine. ~ Proverbs 17:22
From where the sun rises to where it sets you inspire shouts of JOY! ~ Psalm 65:8
5. Joy is not about us… it’s about HIM.
For the JOY of the Lord is my strength. ~ Nehemiah 8:10
You have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for JOY! ~ Psalm 63:7
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought JOY to my soul. ~ Psalm 94:19
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY. ~ Psalm 126:3
And because I’m a list-making planner, I listed some practical things we can do to function in a JOY-filled life:
1. Practice an attitude of gratitude.
It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful.
Choose to focus on the good and many blessings that surround us.
2. Don’t compare… Just don’t!!
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Don’t let others “highlight reels” on Facebook steal your JOY as you live in the real-life, behind-the-scenes with your precious family.
3. Recognize that the source of your JOY is GOD.
Not your hubby, not your kids, not your job, not your stuff!
Knowing God is your source of Joy really takes the pressure off of you, your hubby, your kids, your friends. We will all let each other down from time to time, but GOD never will!
4. Find someone to sprinkle some JOY on today!
Share a cup of coffee and an ENCOURAGING chat.
Crank up an ENCOURAGING group text with some other women who are in the same season of life as you.
Drop off a SONIC drink to a new mom with an ENCOURAGING note.
I guarantee you will be filled with JOY and that your JOY will spread to them!
5. Say “no” to the good so you can say “yes” to the best.
As women it feels like we are being pulled in so many directions and we feel obligated to say yes ALL THE TIME. I promise the world won’t fall apart if you say “no” (from my experience the person asking you may look a little dumbfounded at the moment, but life goes on) and one “no” can empower you to the next “no” and the end result is the opportunity to say a really great “yes” to the best things!
6. Choose JOY in your reactions to what life throws at you.
Busy is a choice.
Stress is a choice.
Bitterness is a choice.
Thanksgiving is a choice.
JOY is a choice.
Today I choose JOY! Won’t you?