“Nona, do you smile all the time?” My granddaughter asked. These words fell on shocked ears. My response? “I do when I am with you!” The shock came because one of my spiritual struggles has been that I allow my circumstances to rob me of my joy. A few years ago, I started paying attention to all the times any little thing would aggravate me, or set me off, or just plain make me sad. I decided that my joy was not going to be hijacked anymore. It hasn’t been a perfect journey, but it has improved. What made the difference for me? Here are somethings I tangibly chose to do.
Paying attention really made a difference. Whenever my joy would start to slip and it was evident in my attitude or words, I would catch myself, or my husband would give me “the look.” You know what I mean. I think every couple has these looks between them. (BTW, I had given him permission to do that.) Accountability helps.
Secondly, I came to the realization that, as a Christian, my hope for a perfect world or life, cannot rest in the circumstances we experiences on this earth. Instead hope has to be placed confidently in the next world, Jesus new Kingdom where He will reign as King.
Thirdly, I read John 15:11 – “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Jesus is addressing His disciples here. Jesus had complete joy and He wanted His disciples to experience the same. This joy brightened His path through his darkest days here on earth. And it is in me!
Jesus knew by this point He was facing the cross, I imagined how He must have felt and yet he said He had complete joy. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t faced anything remotely close to the cross. I doubt many of us have. Jesus could not have been focusing on the cross before Him. Instead He must have focused on the crown He would have in eternity. I understood that I needed to do the same – focus the eternal, not the earthly.
My granddaughter isn’t always with me to make me smile, but Jesus is.
Ever time you choose to smile genuinely, even though your circumstances are less than joyful, you give evidence that the same joy Jesus experienced in spite of the cross is in you.
Despite my circumstances, I feel inner contentment and understand my purpose in life.
Resources: The Christian Life Profile Assessment tool. https://g.co/kgs/2yRinB
Get the full devotional at: http://www.zondervan.com/believe-devotional