Choose-Joy-tattoo.jpg

I've been thinking about something lately. It keeps coming up in my
life, so I guess you could call it a theme. The theme is the concept
of Joy, Sustained. This basically meaning having joy that doesn't go
away. Circumstances don't change it. Not lack of sleep. Or messed up
relationships. Or having too many things to do and not enough time to
do them.
I desperately want to master this. I want joy to gleam from my eyes.
You can see it when people have it. I bet you know what I'm talking
about.

Imagine if we could figure out how to live without letting life
destroy us daily.
It seems like almost every time I run into someone they ask, "How are
you?" My reply is, "Busy, how about you?" "Ya, Man, I can't keep up.
Life is beating me up and spitting me out." Our lives are too busy to
have joy. People run themselves ragged and then there is nothing left
of themselves to have joy. Survival mode turns on and stress takes
over. At the end of the day we are still too tired to function. Our
energy is sapped and our joy is gone.

I would love to hear feedback from anyone who has found a way to keep
joy alive in their daily lives. One of the things that I have found to
keep joy in my life is to get up early enough so that the morning
isn't stressful and rushed. It changes the whole feel of the day when
I can take my time in the morning routine and sit with God, even if
its only for a minute. Another thing I've found is to take time to
stop, even when I am overwhelmed and don't have any time for anything,
to notice little details, and enjoy them. For example, to notice how
intricate nature is. Maybe you're at the skatepark and you see some
little kid skating. Instead of getting annoyed, take time to watch
them and remember when you were like them. After all, they could end
up like these twin kids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk0e0_cqknI

Pastor Charlie Stoumbaugh has spoken on Joy lately. Inspite of recent
tragedy, he is fighting to keep joy in his life. He says to keep joy,
you have to keep your mind in check, to be aware of every thought that
goes through your mind. "Every act of God is an act of love." It
doesn't matter if it seems good or bad. Line your thoughts up with
this statement. If they don't work with that statement, throw them
out. (Think about that for a while, don't just skip over that
statement.)
If you want to hear more about that thought, there is an audio of
Pastor Charlie's talk at this link:
http://www.cornerstonechurchbv.com/audio/ChildrenofObedience-PastorCharlieStoumbaugh-1.mp3

And so, like the tattoo says, Choose Joy.

-Brooke Cortese

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