Cultivate Joy, Peace and Contentment For Your Life
Intentional (read here) was the word I picked for this year’s theme.
Little did I know what I was getting in to.
It’s funny how sometimes when we say or decide something, the Lord says, “Ok, let’s go!” and He takes it beyond and deeper than what our plans were.
This year I knew I wanted to be more intentional with our finances, our time, with exercise and home-schooling, but it turns out, I was going to be challenged in more ways than I had planned.
This year one of my challenges has been with my thoughts (read here) towards myself; purposing to replace my thoughts with Gods thoughts.
But it didn’t stop there. I have also been challenged to intentionally choose joy, peace and contentment…in what feels like the hardest year I have ever had.
Easier said than done. It’s not as simple as saying “I’m going to be full of joy, be at peace and be content.”
Sure, when life is grand and everything is going according to our plan, it’s easy to walk in in those things.
What about the circumstances where we get knocked down again and again? Do we go into self-pity and feel sorry for ourselves and allow ourselves to be robbed of these things? I’ve been down that road before and it's not pretty.
Have you ever come across someone who exudes joy at all times? You think “Wow, things must be great for them” only to find out later that they had gone through some really tough things in life?
The reason they are so full of joyfulness is because they have chosen to be regardless of circumstances.
The fact is nobody’s life is perfect, we all have our struggles and different challenges, but we all have the same opportunity to determine our attitude. It doesn’t just “happen”. When we settle on what's good amidst the struggles and trials, we have the opportunity to grow, and it reflects the Lord in us.
It sounds easy, but how do we make the decision to decide on joy?
Too often we tie things up in “feelings”. I don’t feel happiness, I don’t feel satisfied, I don’t feel calm. Feel, feel, feel…feelings are fickle!!
There are a lot of things we don’t “feel” like doing in our lives, but we know it’s best for us and beneficial.
I don’t always feel like keeping the house or making meals, but I determine to do it because it is what is best for my family and there is blessing in it for everyone it affects.
The same is true for choosing joy, peace and contentment.
Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness
Peace: freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility
Contentment: a state of happiness and satisfaction
I do not have it figured out, but I am determined to thrive in these areas!
Here are a few things I have started to apply in my own life.
First and foremost, I know I am at my most vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy when I am tired, run down and my spiritual tank is empty. I am more likely to allow the enemy to rob me of all good things when I have not been filling my tank with the things of God.
I need to make sure I am getting proper rest and reading the Word of God, studying it and memorizing scripture.
Can we choose joy regardless of circumstances?
I know so!
So often joy (pleasure and happiness) comes from our circumstances, but circumstances change. How do we choose joy regardless of our circumstances?
The Bible has a lot to say about joy. Check these scriptures out: https://www.openbible.info/topics/joy
Joy and rejoice seem to be synonymous in the Bible.
One of the best ways I have found of being intentional with joy (rejoicing) is by putting on praise and worship music. Even if I don’t feel like I have it, this has the potential to change my attitude and it changes the atmosphere of my home because it defeats the enemy.
Reading scriptures of God’s promises out loud to myself also reminds me of why I should be full of joy!
Clap your hands, all you nations: shout to God with cries of joy.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.
Worrying and stressing, which is the opposite of me being at peace, doesn’t benefit my health. When I allow the enemy to steal it from me, it affects me emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.
Instead of my eyes being fixed on the Lord, His faithfulness and believing in His promises, I look to myself to take care of things and save the day. I am not wonder woman!
I am not free from anxiety and stress when I am relying on myself, and it feels like this constant push and striving to make things happen. My mind is not free from disturbance or tranquil, it’s constantly going over the problem and focusing on the negative.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of worrying and not being at peace because it doesn’t change anything other than to make me unwell.
When I am lacking in this area, I have the choice to remain there or I can choose to refocus and line my thoughts up with God’s promises and rest in Him.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Are we truly content?
There is so much going on around us in the world telling us why we shouldn’t be satisfied. Why would should be more and want more. There’s this constant push for more, bigger, better and newer!
But what about contentment? What about being in a state of happiness and satisfaction? Being pleased with who we are and what we have.
How do we get to a place of contentment? Again, it's by choosing to focus on the things of God, by not comparing, and by being thankful for what we do have.
If you have a hard time being happy with what you have, stop looking at FB, Pinterest, magazines, movies and the TV! Start thanking God for your blessings!! We have so much to be thankful for!!
1 Timothy 6:6
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you: never will I forsake you.”
The prescription for intentionally choosing joy, peace and contentment are all the same.
· Watch your thoughts! Do they line up with what God says?
· Get the Word of God in your heart and in your mind! Memorize it!
· Rejoice! Praise the Lord and worship Him regardless of whether you feel like it or not.
· Be thankful! Every day take time to thank Him for what He has done and for what He has provided for you.
You can change your life! Determine today to cultivate joy, peace and contentment in your life!