The best way to maintain our attitude of joy is to remain close to Jesus, through prayer, scripture, and fellowship, but sometimes, because we are human and have human failings, we need tangible reminders of the well of joy we have access to at all times.
Each person reacts to different stimuli. Lee in my story, Strength to Stand, has her calico cat, Armor. The cat’s presence keeps God’s promises near. Whenever the anxiety, fear and doubt threaten to return, she pets the cat and is reminded of what Jesus did for her, how he set her free and loves her despite her failures.
For me, music and nature ground me in God’s love and restore my joy. I particularly enjoy the music of an Irish band known as Rend Collective. Their lyrics and eclectic folk/rock sound speak to my soul and bring out my joy. Sunrises and sunsets do the same. The beauty of creation never fails to remind me of the nature of God––loving, but fierce. As CS Lewis wrote of Aslan in his allegory the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: He is utterly good, but not safe or tame.
This thought brings me joy. Because safe and tame are often boring. I don’t believe God is boring. Joy is not a boring concept. It involves risk. To have it and experience it fully, each of us is asked to give of ourself. We must open up our hearts to Jesus. To the Holy Spirit. True joy comes from an unbarred heart and an open mind. When we dare to allow God access to everything we possess, that is when the greatest, most pervasive joy comes and with it, a soaring sense of freedom.
Don’t get me wrong, I have not yet mastered this myself. I often want to restrict access to thoughts or reserve decisions for myself. But, over time, with effort and attention, I have gotten better at listening to the little nudges of conscience that accompany my selfish desires. Prayer comes more easily and consistently-often as a first resort instead of a last one.
What about you? How easy is it for you to consistently open yourself to the Savior? Is it an on-going battle, or are you winning the war? Does it come and go, like the tides. Easy during some seasons and ultra difficult in others? Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.