Invited to the Party

Simply laughing, letting yourself in to the present moment, like you opened the door to the party that is happening all around you.  To lay down the weights you have been carrying, and let your shoulders drop in comfort and relaxation, feels strange but sweet.

Joy sparks joy, producing a lightness, both in level of gravity and brightness.  The bright light causing the darkness to scatter away like critters in a dark room.  

Joy gives way to breath and clarity and deep belief and faith.

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I write a lot of about struggles and hard things, perhaps because I am trying to find the words that accurately describe where I spend a lot of my head space.  However, in this year of seeking out the abundance of God, I want to also name the places of joy in my life. Seeking to laugh and step into a space of gladness.  To experience the fullness of joy that God promises in his presence.

I wrestle to stay in the glad things, to remain there.  Maybe I feel some happiness at the surface but it feels fleeting.  Maybe I see it as superficial and irrelevant when there are bigger things happening.  However, finding what brings you joy, finding ways that God delights YOUR heart is so essential.  

It is a part of discovering who God made you to be, just as much as figuring out your talents and your calling.  It is just as important as digging into your past and present memories or struggles.

Joy in the Lord, is about experiencing all of who God is….God is full of gladness.  

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You can see that in how Jesus loved children, how he enjoyed the company of many different kinds of people.  He hung out with twelve dudes, they had have cracked a joke or two, right? All over the Psalms it talks about gladness.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. – Psalm 16-9

What does it look like when your whole being rejoices? Think about David dancing or celebrating.  David sang and wrote poems, not just when things were hard but he was glad in the Lord. Think about the celebrating that Elizabeth did when she figured out she was expecting after years of barrenness in Matthew. 

I used to think having joy was all about having everything go super great, that life was just as you expected, and every day was perfect. It was about being happy and content. But if that is all that having joy is, then I miss out on the deep joy of seeing the good in a day that is really crappy.

I miss out on the deep laughter that can come after a dark day.  I would miss out on the joy of smiling with tears in your eyes after praying with a friend.  I would miss out on community surrounding you when life isn’t at all what you expected.

By expecting life’s joy to be a certain way, you miss out on the unexpected.  God showing up in ways you didn’t know that you needed.

That is often how God shows up, in the unexpected and unasked for ways.  We didn’t even know that we needed to ask for that friend or extra $5 in our pocket.  We didn’t ask for that affirmation at work or that encouraging conversation at the grocery store.  We didn’t know that we needed to slow down and having a sick toddler actually provided that.

These days, for me that looks like running into a friend in a coffee shop. It means a sweet text from a dear friend, or even extra space to be with God on a Friday night.  Or spending my weekday evening giggling with middle school girls.  And even though life doesn’t look at all what I expected, God shows up to bring me into his joy.

I just have to choose to see it.  I have to slow down and name it. I have look behind the curtain of “this isn’t what I wanted” and step into the joy party.  

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Being in the joy, changes me.  It changes my heart reflexes. I am quicker to see it.  Maybe it’s like any other muscle that needs to get stronger, maybe I need to do more reps like I do with my core and hamstrings.  

So friends, where is it that you can see the joy in your life today?

I hope that you take a moment and counting the joys, the places of gladness, how often you smile.  And let it change bring brightness and lightness to your heart. 

Picture Credits:

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

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These are a few of my favorite things….

This year is the year of small winscounting the little things that make my life pretty awesome right now.  I found myself at the beginning of this year being super negative and wallowing in despair over all the things that haven’t changed since last year. 

I am done doing that!  Lets celebrate everything amazing that God has blessed us with!

Not because nothing wrong doesn’t ever happen…
Not because things aren’t ever hard…
Not because I am ignoring the difficulties of life….

BUT because God is still with me through all the wrong and the bad and the struggles.  I was challenged by this verse this week.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”(Romans 8:18 ESV)

After a hard week last week, I was so encouraged to leave school on Friday feeling that my students perhaps might have accomplished something. Besides that, there are some other things that made my week so much better!

1. Participating in a 10 day gluten free/dairy free weight-loss challenge!  This makes my meals a little complicated, but nothing I can’t handle for 10 days.  As well, I have a menu to choose from and smoothies to drink.  I feel great and light.  My jeans are already fitting better and the workouts are going really well! So encouraging! (Might be a little hungry though!)

2. Had a great time with my Gospel Community on Monday night!  I love those girls and they are so encouraging!  It was a great time to pray and encourage one another!

3. Went to see Anna Karenina with a sweet friend! It was definitely a sad movie but was beautifully done and had the most amazing costumes!

4. Worked out with co-workers 2 days after school and it was so fun!  Sometimes I forget how much fun it is to workout with friends.  I get so much in my head when I workout and I forget to have fun!  And sometimes it is fun to do something with co-workers that doesn’t involve work!

5. Was able to spend some quality time on my homework both Wednesday and Thursday evening.  This was great because it helped me get a paper written by Friday night and I love getting things done early!

6. Went on a field trip with my Drama Club…this was definitely the highlight of my week!  These kids are near and dear to my heart and they had a blast.  We saw a great show and they got to experience something they might have not ever experienced before!  I love helping them see the possibilities of theater!  (plus it got me out of school for a couple hours!)

7. Had an encouraging and challenging (in a good way) meeting with my assistant principal, where I was given some ideas to help with some difficult students.  Sometimes it helps just to talk about why things are hard and have someone speak into them or put them in a different light so it isn’t so discouraging. 

8. HAD AN AMAZING FRIDAY
– The kids worked hard!
– We listened to my favorite Australian Radio station
– I got grades updated and left school feeling a sense of “finish”
– The kids seem to like the project we are working on.
– We ended the day with a mixer and I started to remember why I love middle schoolers so much. 
– Got my workout in and ended the day babysitting for a sleeping baby!

What amazing things happened to you this week? What are your small wins?