Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A 2 Z: Joy to be counted

A few years ago I was driving to college, stressed and late. I'd slept through my alarm and then dragged myself from bed feeling ill and aching all over. No, I didn't have the flu, just my normal health issues acting up. I left the house late and in a hurry, forgetting my homework, only to get stuck waiting for the bridge to come down after it stopped traffic to let a tall boat through.

I was mentally rehearsing the tale of all my unfortunate events when I was struck with a thought (or perhaps hit upside the head by the Holy Spirit?)... I had a choice: I could keep bemoaning my troubles, or I could choose to move on and be happy today.

It's a tough choice. Let's face it, sometimes we like wallowing in our misfortunes. Who's up for a pity party?! Certainly any given day we have plenty of things to find fault with. We've all heard the verse from James, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds," but how do we do that, and why?

Not to say it's wrong to tell a friend what's troubling you, or laugh about mishaps, but it is wrong to live with an attitude of "woe is me" or get so caught up with life that we forget to be thankful. Ultimately it comes down to a choice we have to make.

Are we willing to be Pollyannas and look for the glad things in life? Are we able to acknowledge that God is good even when life seems bad? Can we call out to God for help and ask Him for joy, even in difficult times?

Looking at the rest of the passage in James helps give reason for what seems like a backwards response. "Count it all joy, my [sisters], when you meet trials of various kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Some versions say "...that you may be mature and complete...."

Here are some of the things I can count as joy:

+ I am a writer, with exciting stories always in my head to entertain me, and sometimes on paper to entertain others. (I got the 2nd draft of my novel Reaching Sky done this week! and my collaborative Peculiar People's orphan train book is almost done with the first section)
+ I have a job I love that helps others and that allows me to work with people, words, languages, and cultures—all my passions. I work in education, always learning, and in churches, helping spread the gospel.
+ That I am not completely confined to bed or home.
+ I have wonderful support and love from my family and great friends.
+ I have been able to use my experiences with my disabilities to encourage and help others.
+ I can see my endurance growing, always bringing me a little closer to the perfect maturity that will be completed when I get my new body in the New Jerusalem.

What about you? What are you joyful for?

Little Amy finding joy in a ball
Joy in a snow angel



Rita Garcia said...

Fantastic post, Amy! You are so right, sometimes being joyful is a choice! But through His joy we always find strength. Hugs!

Sleepy B said...

I love this post Amy. I am joyful for being able to connect with people like you.

Laury said...

Sometimes we have to search for joy but it's there, waiting for us to grab hold:) and it feels so good when we do.

Joanne Sher said...

It's a choice. Thanks for reminding me - great post, dear Amy!

Barbara Lynn Culler said...

I agree that some day, there does not seem to be something to joyful about! Then I just say I'm glad it's over!

Great post!

Rhonda Schrock said...

Walking with Him is giving me so much joy. Every day! And yes, joy is always a choice.

Waving and smiling,


Nancy K. Sullivan said...

You've found the key to true happiness - JOY. And you bring to the rest of us, Amy.

God Bless.

Majid Ali said...

Please for Christ sake please help me
I need your help and support to help PAY MY Tuition Fees. I need your only 3 to 5 minutes approximately

What you have to do is
1.go to Google.com and search "Kwotz-Golden Words of Life"
2.then visit my blog from the the search results.
3.Remain on the page i.e Kwotz for one minute or so and do some random surfing
4. click ONE of the ads that appeals to you from AdChoices and visit there.
5.remain on that page for one minute or so and do some random surfing.
and that's it.

NOTE: Only ONE click is needed.
I will be grateful to you.
May God Bless You.

Niki Turner said...

Amy dear, just finding your blog has inspired joy! Blessings to you!

Marji Laine said...

James is one of my favorite books. My first large section to memorize was James 1. It has been a source of encouragement all through my adult life.

Trials aren't comfortable, but just like the song (sometimes Your blessings come through raindrops) God's richest blessings can be found through the trials He helps us through.

Sounds like you already know this!

Thanks for sharing!
Blessings <><

Diana Dart said...

You're attitude shines like your smile, girl - brightly and brilliantly :) This is a great reminder for all of us, I'm sure.

Patty Wysong said...

Choosing to latch on to joy--something for me to do TODAY! =]

Thank you!