Finding Joy in the moment, Regardless

Introduction: Yes You Can!  

sunrise

Years ago, I heard the testimony of Norm Evans of the Miami Dolphins. I loved the way he explained the result of his new faith in Christ. “I used to wake up in the morning and say, ‘Good God, it’s morning!’ Now I wake up and say, ‘Good morning, God.’” To this strapping, self-sufficient football player, every day was a gift from God to be enjoyed.

If we could only appreciate the importance of time from God’s viewpoint. Instead, many of us have accepted the notion that time is the enemy out to steal our peace. And when our peace of mind goes, there goes our joy.

As a result, we forget to embrace time as a gift. We either set it on a shelf, never to be opened and enjoyed. Or we wage war against it, chasing it, hoping to catch it before it disappears into the sunset. Do you sometimes look back and wonder. Where did the time go? I do. Often. Where does time go? We don’t know; but we all know one thing. Once it’s gone, it’s gone—never to be retrieved.

Good News flash for every believer, especially me. Every day is a new day bursting forth with potential. And there is enough time in every day to do God’s will for that day. And believe it or not, there is joy to be had in every moment we breathe.

In the beginning, God ordained order in every aspect of His providence. Especially time. Each day is ordered according to schedule. The day dawns and it begins. Dusk arrives and the day turns into night. There’s nothing we can do to change the order of time. But like Norm Evans, we can change our attitude toward time. And when we change our attitude, our actions will follow accordingly.

God’s Word greets us every morning with a gift and how to use it. Perhaps we should write it across our bathroom mirrors.

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice in it.” Psalm 118:24

Over the years, the very thought of the importance of time has invariably left me frustrated over my lack of control in the best use of my time. As a result, I’ve been plagued with a lot of guilt and disappointment over wasted time. In the dictionary, one definition for waste is actually the word godforsaken.

I know from God‘s promises He will never forsake me for anything I do or don’t do. And yet I feel as if I’m forsaking Him when I waste the time He gives me.

Think about it. Every day, twenty-four hours around the clock, God gives us 1440 minutes for one main purpose. To relish and to find the joy in each moment. Why? Because from our moments of joy flow forgiveness for our sins, wisdom for the road, and hope for the future.

We’ve all experienced bad days. Sometimes they come in a plethora of blahness, days when joy is nowhere to be found. And yet, joy is a fruit of the Spirit and the Spirit dwells within us. Surely, with His help, we can learn to find joy in the moments, regardless of our difficulties. Not just to survive. But to triumphantly overcome our circumstances with unmitigated, God-ordained joy.

How do I know this is true? Because I’m in the middle of a quest that is proving it to be so in my life. For those of you who faithfully read my blog, I’m sure you’ve noticed for the past few months, my posts have been either sporadic or absent.

Here’s why. For quite awhile, I’ve been struggling to rediscover joy in my circumstances, my writing and in general, my life. Don’t get me wrong; I love my life and I love to write and I love to be with people.

However, recently everything has seemed more of a chore than a pursuit of what I love. This is a red flag waving a warning over my life. When my want-tos become ought-tos, it’s a sign that I’ve allowed my freedom in Christ to become legalism. And it robs me of my joy.

I’ve shared with you many times the importance of knowing how to be filled with God’s Spirit and to breathe spiritually moment-by-moment. I still believe living the Spirit-filled life is the key to a thriving and healthy relationship with God and with others. I still believe as Dr. Bill Bright put it: Every day can be an exciting adventure for the Christian who is filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

But one day, I was jarred by a simple truth. I realized I was having to confess my frustrations, impatience and sharp tongue more frequently than before. And I realized although my days were not miserable or really bad, something was not right. An important aspect of spiritual breathing was missing in my life. That is, finding joy in the moment, regardless of my circumstances.

Yes, joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit as we yield our lives. But sometimes the joy has to be pursued, sought after and found in order to apply it consistently. Thus began my study on the subject.

I hope you don’t mind if I share it with you. You may already understand everything you read, even better than I do. If so, I hope you’ll praise God with me for His grace in teaching us these things.

However, just in case you’re wondering if you can find joy in your moments of disappointment, discouragement, loss or pain—God’s Word shouts  a resounding YES YOU CAN.

Yes You Can

I intended to write a post about this, but instead my study has turned into a series of life lessons on the subject. I invite you to join me next time for the first installment of Finding Joy in the Moment, Regardless. We’ll discuss the symptoms and solutions to spiritual staleness.

Meanwhile, I’d love for you to share with me how you’ve conquered the dilemma of wasting time. If you’re naturally a structured and disciplined person, please be gentle with me. Make your suggestions applicable for a hopelessly hapless “wanna-be.” I promise to give your advice serious consideration and apply it accordingly.

woman on computer

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Comments
11 Responses to “Finding Joy in the moment, Regardless”
  1. Barbara Plachta says:

    Hope you are doing well Liz. Thanks for the blog, I really enjoyed reading it and look forward to the next one. I used to be so focused and such a doer and now I find myself a little slower and not so much in a hurry to get things taken care of. I beat myself up over this many times but then I stop and say what is wrong with just taking time for yourself, so I know exactly what you mean. So much to do but never enough time or is it just that we don’t want to take the time to do it??? I think I know what my answer would be.

    • Thanks, Barb for commenting. I’m so glad to know we’re still connected! And thanks for the encouragement. I guess what I’m learning about time is to appreciate the now and trust God for the future. And also, to trust Him to fulfill His purpose for this era of my life His way and in His timing.

      I hope all is well with you and with your family. Sure would love to have y’all visit us sometime. Love you two and miss you and Ray.

  2. Mary Beth Welsh says:

    Mom, I so appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable and I think that that Satan is trying to rob you of your joy by lying to you and telling you that you aren’t doing enough, you aren’t organized enough, you aren’t disciplined enough. No more, as Priscilla would say. Get to the prayer room and know that the Lord is using you and your abilities just as you are. You are putting way to much pressure on yourself. My prayer for you and Dad has been that you would each find your individual way to enjoy your retirement, be blessed and enjoy each other, and enjoy the opportunities that the Lord presents to you. I love you and am looking forward to more of your life’s lessons.

    • Thanks again, sweet #1 daughter. Your tender heart and wisdom never ceases to amaze me. I only wish we weren’t so far apart. But it won’t be long before we will visit you. Yea! can’t wait! Love and appreciate you so much.

  3. shirlee says:

    Thank you Liz. I have been so anxious to hear from you. You are saying what I need to hear. Your wisdom is Christ filled and has touched my heart. I have missed you, so I pray you will continue to teach me truth. Praying for you with love and thankfulness.

    • Thanks dear friend for your kind comments. I’m so glad my blog has been meaningful to you in some way. I only wish we lived closer to each other so we could connect in person. But meanwhile, please stay in touch. Love and miss you, too. Liz

  4. Jeannie Carr says:

    Love this post. I have found that these things come in seasons and just like waiting for the rain to pass, we pray and wait. This is probably how He gets us to sit at His feet and lean into Him. None of us can be “full ON” all the time. The beautiful thing is that He knows this about us and sings over us just the same. Miss you my friend!

  5. Nora B. says:

    Dear dear Liz,
    Your present topic is always a big topic in my life. Years ago The Lord made it clear that I was going to need to get used to having no title. No brand to hide behind. No role to lean upon. No answer to the liberated women in my family and in my life. Just take each day as the beginning of something great. Be willing to tear up the list before the day even begins. Stand in the gap. Surprisingly none of that was undo-able- –being shameless was easier than I thought. The tough part, as it turns out, is joy and its buddy hopefulness.
    Luckily this is not a rare life at all. I see that loads of Christian women have the same roles in their circles. And luckily, I also see that they are better at joy and hopefulness. I sit eagerly at their (and your) feet. Thank you for your open heart and unwillingness to accept less than your boundary lines that have fallen in pleasant places. Surely you and I have a delightful inheritance. Keep at it Liz, you awesome thing.

    • Thanks, sweet friend, for your insightful words. As always full of wisdom and encouragement. And your vulnerability is refreshing! Oh how I miss our getting together. But hopefully, we’ll remedy that soon! Love you, Liz

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