Lent Day 39: Joy That Counteracts Guilt

Timmons writes: “Joy is different from happiness.  Joy is deeper than that.  Happiness depends upon the happenings that are going on right now.  Joy is an inner quality of seeing this with a positive perspective.  Joy is the ability the enjoy the scenery, when you are on a detour!” 

There is so much hurt and pain in the world (and often in our daily lives) that it is almost natural to feel guilty when things are going well.  Think about it, when was the last time you felt totally free to share how well things are going?  Maybe a bigger question is, when was the last time things were going really well for you?  I had this amazing class my freshman year at Abilene Christian University called Life Learning Skills taught by Willard Tate.   He intentionally only offered the class at 7:00 AM.  Every morning we arrived he would be standing at the front of the room saying, “Good morning.  Get out a pen and paper and write down 10 good things that have already happened today.  Do it, do it!  You have had so many good things happen already today that I’ll have to cut you off at just 10.”  (This was at 7:00 AM!)  What was Willard Tate talking about?  After weeks and months of filling out my list it finally began to sink in, gratitude. 

Toward the end of his life Jesus talked more and more about joy.  In fact, his final prayer recorded by John was, “But now I come to thee, and these things I speak in the world that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” (John 17:13)  Jesus wants us to experience joy!  Joy is a choice!  It begins with gratitude and is cultivated through staying connected to Jesus throughout the day.  As we begin this day we have so much to be thankful for, even in the midst of hard circumstances.  Maybe it’s time to get out your pen and make your own list…

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