I receive many questions and comments about my ability to maintain a positive attitude despite the current season of my life. Let me start by saying I don't always get it right. I'm human. I do, however, make a conscious effort to keep trying.
Do you ever feel like there are forces working against you? You're right, there are, and it's orchestrated by the enemy. The Bible tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The easiest way for evil to accomplish all three in my opinion is by stealing our joy. One day at a time.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
Finding day-to-day joy requires daily effort, but it is achievable. By practicing the following, you can disarm the enemy and maintain a positive attitude no matter what is going on around you. Don't allow your joy to be stolen.
Dedicate time with God. Intentional time with God goes beyond speaking to Him throughout the day. Actually pencil God into your calendar--preferably first thing in the morning. Setting the tone of your day by sitting in God's presence, listening, praying, worshiping, etc., makes all the difference in how we respond to the day's circumstances. Be proactive by getting filled with the Word, love and peace, and watch the unfolding of your day go more smoothly.
Practice gratitude. When we are grateful-- even in seemingly insignificant moments or circumstances--we can't help but be joyful. Appreciation for things like being alive, how comfortable our bed is, advancement in technology, the creation of puppies, the presence of friends and families in our lives, and the invention of tacos, helps keep us grounded. Practicing gratitude throughout the day reveals all of the daily blessings we receive, yet easily forget when something doesn't go our way.
Serve others. Serving others requires us to die to ourselves. As human beings, our sinful nature is selfishness despite our possible good intentions. I've found that serving others--especially in the midst of our own suffering--is incredibly rewarding. The reward? Joy. Seek to know the needs of others and use the resources and talents God has given you to fulfill them.
Forgive. The opposite of feeling angry, resentful, offended, betrayed, etc., is joy and it can be found in the act of forgiveness. Forgiving others can be tricky because we often associate forgiveness with allowing others to get away with hurting us. It's not up to us to judge or condemn others. By forgiving others instead, we extend the same grace and mercy Jesus laid down his life to provide for us all. Forgiveness further releases us from holding onto bitterness, which left unchecked, can steal our joy. Forgive and you shall be forgiven.
Don't take life so seriously. In a world full of unrealistic expectations, remember to not take yourself or life so seriously. So, your spouse left the pantry door open again, you still haven't folded the laundry, or your friend posted a non-flattering picture of you on social media--it's ok. Life will carry on and at the end of the day, no one really cares.
I challenge you all to take a non-traditional selfie and post it on social media--silly faced and non-filtered. There is freedom and joy to be found in not taking life so seriously.
May we all make a conscious effort to find joy every single day.
Love & Sunblock