How to Cultivate JOY

This week has had one repeated word. Joy. Everywhere we look, the word joy appears. We are being stalked by the word.

We experienced it pretty quickly at the beginning of the week and along with it was in an invitation to an intense agreement with “it’s all about me”.

I noticed that if we shook hands with that invitation, intensity and hustle were the immediate welcoming committee.

Over the last few years one of the top trending issues in business and society in Australia and USA is ‘narcissism’. It listed twice in the top 5 current concerns in these spheres. Narcissism’s heart is “it’s all about me!”

Psalm 16:11 says “In His Presence is fullness of Joy”. What invitation do we want to shake hands with? When I invite joy, I invite Him. What does He bring? Fullness of Joy! Suddenly I am more conscious of Him, not myself.

The interesting thing about the emotion of joy is that it is one of the emotions that is additive. In other words it “adds” to us, it gives us energy, strength, hope.

Anxiety, disappointment, negativity “take” from us. These emotions consume huge amounts of energy and focus from us.

Joy and anxiety can not coexist. We either choose one or the other. Joy displaces anxiety and actually cures it! Likewise joy and anger or joy and entitlement can’t coexist. When I choose one, I kick out the other.

A Jesuit priest once said, “It’s not joy that makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us joyful.” The pathway to joy is laid one stone of gratitude at a time.

Joy is cultivated by repeated choices to be grateful for what is. Joy doesn’t stumble over what isn’t.

Joy is cultivated by celebrating often little things, and as we celebrate them, we awaken in understanding, in sight, in joy.

So last night I sat down with my journal and wrote across the top, “I am grateful for..” The first thing that popped into my head was God’s provision. He arrested my focus!

As I wrote those words, I began to experience His presence. I saw Him drawing near to me and suddenly a bunch of energy and ideas tumbled out through my pen.

I began writing all the ways I had seen Him provide in this day. I was grateful for His provision of the rain, a warm home as winter makes it decent, the red gum flower on the tree outside the window, and on it went.

By the end of this flow of gratitude, I was in awe and worship of a Father God who provides. I was aware, it wasn’t all about me and the heavy yoke that this invitation brings! Me was settled in the focus of joy.

I was in partnership with God and what His goodness is bringing in this season. I celebrate and cultivate the joy of the substance of what He has done. I don’t shame Him or blame Him for what is not yet.

Joy is revelatory experience and this transforms us! This is a key for living and overcoming this current atmosphere and season. It is a very tangible way I can bring heaven and the God of heaven to earth!

His presence is attracted to our joy!

His will for me, for you on this earth as it is in heaven is joy!

How can you invite joy into today? Turn the key and you turn your atmosphere and season!