Our Pastor Craig spoke about joy right before Christmas, he had these lists that just really stood out to me - the first is the rules that a pessimist lives by...hopefully, none of these will stand out to you!!
1. Make little things bother you: don't just let them, make them!
2. Lose your perspective of things, and keep it lost. Don't put first things first.
3. Get yourself a good worry - one about which you cannot do anything but worry.
4. Be a perfectionist: condemn yourself and others for not achieving perfection.
5. Be right, always right, perfectly right all the time. Be the only one who is right, and be rigid with your rightness.
6. Don't trust or believe people, or accept them at anything but their worst and weakest. Be suspicious. Impute ulterior motives to them.
7. Always compare yourself unfavorably to others, which is the guarantee of instant misery.
8. Take personally, with a chip on our shoulder, everything that happens to you that you don't like.
9. Don't give yourself wholeheartedly or enthusiastically to anyone or to anything.
10. Make happiness the aim of your life instead of bracing for life's barbs through a "bitter with the sweet" philosophy.
Use this prescription regularly for a while, and you will be guaranteed a life without joy.
Now - a dozen ways to celebrate joy...
1. Complete what you start.
2. Enlarge your interests.
3. Laugh a lot.
4. Express gratitude to a friend.
5. Be kind, thoughtful, and caring.
6. Read the Bible every day.
7. Accent the positive.
8. Tell a friend you love him/her.
9. Extend a helping hand.
10. Jot down, every morning, five reasons to be happy.
11. Overlook pettiness and jealousy.
12. Yield your life to God.
Joy Is The Gift That Comes Through Trial
James 1: 2-4
Craig was gracious enough to email me his notes from his sermon because I wasn't able to get all of it copied down the day he spoke on it.
One of his notes says, "Therefore, we should not complain when we are suffering under trials and hardships, rather we should take James' advice and count it as joy, because the challenge is an opportunity to trust Christ and to rely on Him and to trust him to guide us through the hardships of life."
WOW - that is hard to hear, but it is oh so true. We know it is true, we all have said or have heard, "What doesn't kill ya only makes ya stronger!"
But as Christians, we aren't asked to just survive the trials, we are asked to actually consider them as pure joy.
Now, I am not going to even insinuate that I have that life lesson mastered. But I will say, that I am challenged, as well as encouraged, by this scripture to do more than just suffer through the tough times.
It just so happens I am facing quite a trial as I am having to deal with immobility and almost complete physical dependence on Greg...next time you see my husband, ask him if I've been exceptionally joyful.