Rend Collective, an Irish folk-rock band, stormed the stage with enthusiasm and joy. Celebrating their "Good News" tour, they rocked, danced, fired off confetti and blew bubbles through a torrid opening sequence of songs. By any stretch of imagination, they seemed to be having great fun playing for the nearly full arena.
It would be difficult not to smile and have a good time witnessing their antics and obvious freedom moving about the stage. They loved leading worship and entertaining at the same time. While enjoying their infectious optimism, I got to thinking about how much they must like their jobs. Although many weeks into a multi-continent tour, they still found passion in their mission: to bring enjoyable music with a message.
Looking for Joy
While not every job comes with the accoutrements of being in a traveling band, each of us have a choice each day. Do we look for the joy in our world, our friends, our job, our families or do we take another path?
Sometimes, joy floats on the surface of life and takes little effort to experience. The first time that I fell in love for real, I walked on cloud nine for months. It would have been difficult to make me depressed no matter how hard anyone tried. Other things just didn't seem to matter in light of finding an object of affection that returned my love.
As life and time went along, that infatuation period expired and real life came to call. Traffic jams, unreasonable bosses and health problems of family members disturbed the peace. Joy took a little more work once I came down from the infatuation high.
Focus on Life-Giving Thoughts
That's really my point with this short blog. Joy requires focusing on things that bring inner satisfaction. Focusing on external problems, deficits or difficulties steals our joy. Beginning each day, we are well served to remind ourselves that we serve a great big God. Nestling into His love for us and remembering His sacrifice frees us to grab hold of joy for one more day. Trusting in His provision means believing the day will go as He orders it.
Grasping onto joy is not denial. It doesn't involve ignoring problems or running from responsibilities. Living in joy means choosing to focus on those eternal things that make life worth living. Getting real about our mission of loving others each day crowds out victim mentality, selfish tantrums and hopeless depression. We are the balm someone else needs today. Spread yourself liberally on those around you. (Hope that imagery made you smile.) You are the peanut butter in someone else's celery today.
Books On The Horizon
I would appreciate your prayers for several books that I have in the works. The exact order and date of their appearance is not clear, but God has a plan. Pray that I will settle into faith about His plan and do my part to write excellent manuscripts, publicize and market the resulting books and continue to give God the glory for any results.