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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

From the time we rise until the moment we exhale sleep’s first breath, nearly 50,000 thoughts will have tracked through our minds. Of those rapid-fire notions, 80% are negative. Repetitive. Even bordering on obsessive.

Our minds are landmines pockmarked with negativity and habitual skepticism–self-sabotaging sink holes that entrap us in an unhealthy, joy inhibiting mindset that blocks blessedness and hinders happiness.

We tumble into the black hole of comparison, worrying whether we’ll ever be as smart, put-together, or beautiful as the woman in the mini-sized yoga pants at the gym or the young mother whose makeup is as perfect as her smile.

Clambering from one hollow only to trip into the next, we desperately seek love and approval like a small child lost in a department store searches for her mother. Our efforts to earn the notice of others, though, fails to satisfy. Instead, they clutter our minds with silent recriminations.

If I’m successful she’ll tell me I’m important to her. Why doesn’t he love me? I must not be good enough.

I know. I’m a self-confessed-personal-critic and reforming people pleaser. You, too? Perhaps Martha was one of us. Consider these passages.

“As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 MSG)

How many of us effectively set aside our plans, problems or performance? With 50,000 thoughts cluttering our minds with to-do's-and-haven't-done's, a woman like Mary is relatable. Understandable. Confined by her view of performance… Click To Tweet

While we may all wish to be the Mary in the story, how many of us effectively set aside our plans, problems or performance? With 50,000 thoughts cluttering our minds with to-do’s-and-haven’t-done’s, a woman like Mary is relatable. Understandable. Confined by her view of performance comparison, she’s overwhelmed by the day’s demands and longs to be worthy of love and approval.

Flustered and frustrated, Mary prods Christ, perhaps hoping for praise or recognition of her efforts to serve him. Yet Jesus reassured, “Only one thing is essential.”

Serving Christ and others? Important. Futile worry? Unnecessary. Embracing the Word? Essential. Click To Tweet

Serving Christ and others? Important. Futile worry? Unnecessary. Embracing the Word? Essential.

Our happiness, Friend, resides in Christ–the Word eternal who was present in the beginning and who has no end. We can forgo all of the non-essentials from the One thing–a relationship with Jesus.

 

Let's cleanse our negativity with his truth. Capture our thoughts and transform them to reflect his promises. Invite the joy of relationship with the risen God into our hearts . Click To Tweet

Let’s cleanse our negativity with his truth. Capture our thoughts and transform them to reflect his promises. Invite the joy of relationship with the risen God into our hearts that we might begin to grasp the happiness we can begin to experience even now–without concerns about comparison or earning love and approval.

We already know that when the Father rest his gaze upon us, He sees Jesus’ beauty and incomparable perfection. Because of him, we are loved and accepted into heavenly arms.

As Philippians 4:8 (MSG) exhorts, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me [Paul], what you heard and saw and realized.”

 

Mind Over Negative Chatter Challenge 

1. Record 3 positive occurrences, circumstances and thoughts you had each day this week. Consider sharing them in the comments section or on my Facebook page, Tammy L. Kennington.

2. Share 9-10 meaningful photos throughout the week. Photos could include anything that brings you joy–family, favorite places, mementos.

3. At the end of the week, reflect on the ways in which the positive, recorded thoughts and/or images impacted your happiness and life experience.

4. Share this challenge with friends and family!

 

 

 

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Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus..pngIt’s the American dream. The subject of Time magazine’s recent expose’. And Hollywood’s driving force lived out loud in a string of movie star marriages, breakups, and over-the-top living.

We pine for it in the same way a widow longs to be reunited with her spouse. The here-and-then-gone-again feeling of happiness. We search for it like we might a treasure buried in the sand, hoping the next marriage, new house, or upgraded tax bracket will soothe the cry of our hearts for something more. Searching for a salve to soothe the realities of the divorce papers strewn across the countertop, the prescription medicines filling our cabinets, or the anxiety skulking in the corners of our minds. We yearn for it and hold out our cup of need, “Just a little bit of happiness please. Fill it up.”

...the joy we’re searching for isn’t discovered in the pursuit of more toys, more money, or more indulgence.  Click To Tweet

Friends, the joy we’re searching for isn’t discovered in the pursuit of more toys, more money, or more indulgence. It won’t be found at the bottom of an empty bottle, a scorched credit card and pretty things, or in promotions and accolades.

Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus.  Click To Tweet

Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus. We may walk through the fire, wander in the desert, or stumble around the darkest valley and still hold to an abiding sense of blessing regardless of circumstance.

I kind of feel like life is like that 'whack-a-mole' game. I think I can catch my breath after some life jag and then something else pops up. Click To Tweet

A woman once commented, “I kind of feel like life is like that ‘whack-a-mole’ game. I think I can catch my breath after some life jag and then something else pops up.”

Have you ever felt the same way; as though a reprieve from all of the challenges and set-backs lies just beyond the horizon only to realize another fear inducing obstacle is poised to pounce in the distance between here and there? Desperately attempting to manage, you aim wildly at the hurt or heartache, hazard or hardship.

Once in a while, your dodging and parrying succeeds. A nuisance is eliminated. A potential problem avoided. But, most of the time? The issues resurface or something new thrusts itself onto life’s landscape.

Where is happiness in these situations? Is happiness even possible?

During the next several weeks, we’ll explore several keys to fostering joy and discovering happiness that extends beyond circumstance. Will you join me, friend? In the meantime, may I pray for you?

Father, we live in a world that would steal all of our joy if it could. We long for a taste of hope and know that you are the answer. Would you fill my sisters’ cup of need today with your love and faithfulness? Prepare her heart for today’s challenges and open her eyes to the beautiful gifts that surround her. Help us to seek you above all else and to exchange our burdens for Christ’s blessings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen

 

 

Faith_on_fire

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Scary tree in moonlight

I’ve grown tired and my throbbing head rests wearily on shoulders knotted by the week’s concerns.  Night begins to fill the sky with its inky fingerprint and I notice there aren’t any stars.  Even the smallest shaft of light has been snuffed out by the encroaching darkness.  My heart drums a muffled song of sorrow.  Where are the lights that once sparkled brilliantly?  How has the promise of the day faded so quickly?  Will night’s oppression be forced to stop its silent, creeping, Joy-Thievery?

I turn to the Word as a sanctuary from the fear that always comes in the dark.  Except now?  Instead of trembling because of the monster beneath my bed, I tremble at the reality of the spiritual battle being waged for those I love.  Words of encouragement speak to me as if they were breathed into my ear.  Cast your burdens upon the Lord.  

But, these concerns are heavier than any I’ve ever carried.  My body aches to be rid of them…my soul cries out for relief…and I pray.  Yet, I clutch the worries tightly to myself like an animal whose burden has been pressed close by the cinching of a strap to which it is bound.

Cast your burdens…cast your burdens…cast your burdens.  The words echo in my head as I reach awkwardly toward the invisible worries.  I pull one out–crushed beneath the layers–and lift it toward heaven.  Then, I throw it to the Only One able to take the weight of the darkness.  It belongs to Him.

I still don’t see the stars, but I know they exist.  And one day, the Light will blot the Darkness from the sky.  The promise for every day will be fulfilled and there will be no more Joy-Thievery–only Joy-Giving.  And the invisible Worry?  The one that rested on God’s shoulders?  Worry will be made new and transformed for His glory.  Amen.

 

Scripture for Reflection (selected verses from Psalm 55 MSG)

1-3 Open your ears, God, to my prayer;
don’t pretend you don’t hear me knocking.
Come close and whisper your answer.
I really need you.

4-8 My insides are turned inside out;
specters of death have me down.
I shake with fear,
I shudder from head to foot.
“Who will give me wings,” I ask—
“wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
I want a cabin in the woods.
I’m desperate for a change
from rage and stormy weather.

22-23 Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.
He’ll never let good people
topple into ruin.

 

 

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Image

The child clambers upon my bed,

“Wake up, wake up sleepyhead.”

I squeeze my eyes tight 

still wanting to rest.

But tiny arms wrap about my legs

 and in the child’s grasp

my weary thoughts are replaced.

I take on her smile as she throws her head back to laugh.  

 I can tell today will be a good one.

 

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine.”

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