Friday, March 20, 2015

Rejoicing & Being Joyful

So I've been trying something new lately. A new me-better yet-an improved me. Someone has even called me a stick-in-the-mud (I'm looking at you, little sister). Anyway, while I'm not quite that bad, I am not exactly the most fun person. I always err on the side of caution-which is not always a bad thing, but it can be when it gets in the way of living.

A few days ago, I came across a verse in Philippians. (Phil. 4:4 to be precise.) "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!" I rejoice over certain things in life like close friends, books (*cough* book-aholic *cough*), new clothes, moving sermons, completed school projects/reports-the easy stuff. But can I-can we-rejoice in the struggles of life? Can we rejoice when things get tough? I don't know about you, but I want to rejoice always. I'll be honest, the thought is a teensy bit overwhelming and I have loads of trouble with rejoicing when things don't go my way. But God put this verse in the Bible for a reason. He wants us to rejoice always!

So we're back to the stick-in-the-mud thing. Sometimes, I'm so focused on staying inside my comfort zone that I forget to have fun. I forget to live in the moment. I forget to be joyful in the little things. I forget to live life. God put us on this earth to live. In some ways, I think I've lost sight of that. If a person goes day to day doing the same routine, what good does that do him?  To me, a person can live his days inside sheltered from danger but what would he really accomplish? God meant for us to experience life.We need to become real by living like God intended. Listen to this: "When a person starts to live for God, when he steps out of his box or rules and rehearsed ways of living, he becomes real." (Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury) (P.S. Don't judge just cause it's by Karen Kingsbury. I know I have found some way to squeeze her in my blog posts. ;) I warned you that I have an obsession with her books. Ha!) This quote though, it really sums up what I've been trying to say in this paragraph about being real by living life to the fullest. I'm mainly writing this post for me. I don't want to be a hermit. I want to get out and smell the fresh air. I want to step out of my comfort zone and experience the thrill and joy of life. I even want to experience the many, many ups and downs that life brings. My eyes are opening to a new way of thinking. Are yours?

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. I'm not saying to be a daredevil or to  do something that is just downright dangerous. I guess what I'm trying to say in a jumbled up way is this: Rejoice always in the good times and bad. Find joy in everything-especially Jesus. Look for beauty in the ashes (hey! that sounds like a Steven Curtis Chapman song! ;)) Don't spend your time dreading one day or wishing for another day-live in the moment. Enjoy today. Don't waste away by always living inside your comfort zone. Do step out of it once in awhile and have a little fun! I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone at least once a week and try something new and/or something you wouldn't normally do. (Y'all this is a ginormous challenge for me because I despise change.) Examples of trying new things/things you wouldn't normally do: Stay off of *gasp* social media, try a new food, go swimming in March (we did this last Saturday by the way. It was 80*+ but the water was still cold. Even though we were freezing, it was loads of fun as well as a new adventure!) You could even have fun on a trip even though you didn't want to go (we're finding joy in the little things, people!), go to a soup kitchen. Serving a neighbor that you don't really know even counts! There's no rules. We are just experiencing and loving the life God gave us. 

So people, are you in?