January 9, 2013

Strength in Joy

I talked about being courageous and brave this year in the last post.  However, that is not really my focus this year.  The idea for my focus was percolating sometime after Thanksgiving, but was given a big boost by Matt at The Church of No People, who shared the concept from  OneWord365.  The concept is to focus on one thing for the year and one thing only.  My one thing to focus on is joy.

It's not that I am not happy or thankful for the life God has for me.  But happy and thankful are not the same thing as joy.  And sometimes, I confess that I can be downright begrudging at what He has me do when it looks like a sloppy mess or when His plan for accomplishing His job for me looks nothing like my plan.  What I want is the joy that is found in the Bible:
  • Nehemiah 8:10b--"And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
  • 1 Chronicles 16:27--"Splendor and majesty are before Him (God); strength and joy in his dwelling place."
  • Psalm 16:11--"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence..."
  • Psalm 94:19--"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."
  • John 15:10-11--"If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
  • Luke 6:22-23--"Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven."
  • Galatians 5:22-23--"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.  Against such things there is no law.
And interestingly enough, there are some blatant links between strength and joy in some of these verses.  

The first application of finding joy I will be working on involves weight loss.  I started losing weight last year when my fabulous SIL (all of them are fabulous, by the way), challenged me to "The Game-On Diet", which turns losing weight into a game. I lost 20 pounds, and then took a four month sabbatical, in which I maintained the weight I lost until the last two holidays.  I only crept back a little bit, but it was enough to motivate me to get back in the game.  So I am back at it, this time playing the game solo with my family as my support.  And my goal in this is to have joy, not just in the decreasing numbers, but in saying "no" to all the sweets that my sweet tusk desires, being hungry, working out, and making good food choices.  I have changed it around a little bit.  If I lose the minimum weight (1%) and make a minimum of points at the end of the week, each of my family members takes a turn rewarding me in some way.  When I told my oldest that it would be her turn to reward me this week, she immediately offered to pay  my way to see "The Hobbit-3D" with me even though we have already seen the movie.  Her extravagent gift (though not totally altruistic, since she has been asking to see it again) totally floored me and gave me HUGE incentive.  It looks like she and I will be having a movie date tomorrow. 

And of course, the purpose in finding this joy is to pass it on.

Hebrews 12:2a
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before him endured the cross...


Jane Hoppe said...

What a great collection of joy verses, Kris. When you read the first one, you're sitting on your chair; by the time you reach the last, you're floating on air.
Have fun at the movie. :-)

justkt said...

What a great idea for rewarding yourself! Keep up the Good Work! as we're prone to say.