When my children were small we lived on the marsh in southeast Georgia. Our backyard overlooked the eighth fairway in Osprey Cove, a neighborhood located in St. Mary’s Georgia. Our home had a large, two-story window in the family room and as you looked out, you could see across the marsh into Florida.
You may know that Florida is the lightning capitol of the United States. Floridians experience lightning one-third of the days in a given year. The Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Gulf Coast to the west help to keep the environment warm and moist, creating conditions conducive to thunderstorms. As a family, we would gather in the family room and watch those thunderstorms. It never got old for us. We did it every time there was a storm.
Around dinner time every night, a family of raccoons would make their way across the fairway through our back yard and over to our neighbor’s house where they would find food that had been left out for them. They were arranged like stair steps: dad, mom, big brother and three smaller raccoons all hunched over in a row, waddling down the same path night after night for dinner. My children, either Taylor or Logan, would announce their appearance and we would all run to the window and watch them. This too never grew old and every night we would gather at the window and watch: another perfect day.
In my viewpoint, one of the worst things in life that can happen to someone is to wake up one day and realize they have not enjoyed their life.
Do you want to cultivate a lifestyle of joy that will allow you to avoid those “if only” regrets?
We begin to experience true joy when we rest in and know God. It is in the absence of worry, guilt and shame that we begin to build a foundation and basis for a joy-filled existence. It is in his presence that we have the courage to forget yesterday’s failures and embrace tomorrow with hope and expectation.
Do you think you would have a greater sense of joy if you could see the world?
I have been blessed to travel around the world. I’ve parasailed in Hawaii. I’ve zip-lined in Costa Rica. I’ve hiked through the rain forest. I’ve taken a gondola through the Grand Canal of Venice. I have been blessed by the Pope. I’ve carried a wooden cross through the streets of London. I’ve survived in the jungles of Africa. I have had Bible study in a bomb shelter in a kibbutz in Israel. I’ve experienced things that many people only dream about but I can tell you, with all confidence, it is not money, travel, or fame that gives joy.
Do you know what brings joy?
It is the small things in life, if we choose to the take the time to notice, which offer the greatest joy. It is the love of a family member. It is the smile on a baby’s face. It is the hug of an old acquaintance. It is a telephone call from a friend when you are feeling lonely. Truly, it is the small things in life that will bring the greatest joy. So I ask you, are you enjoying life now, or are you waiting for your life to just get better on it’s own, waiting for that proverbial ship to come in?
What is joy?
Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is most greatly experienced in the heart of those willing to surrender all self-sufficiency, self-promotion, self-reliance, self-protection, and self-absorption. It is a gift given. Joy is an emotion, which inspires our most unselfish desires, motivates us to live well, and give to others what we have been given. It subdues the anxious heart.
Our joy is not strapped by the confines of our present situation; it is deeply rooted in the confidence we have in Jesus Christ. It cannot be moved.-Robin Bertram
We can tap into our joy if our joy is rooted and grounded in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joy is an internal emotion and fruit of the Holy Spirit that cannot be shaken or moved and is not reliant on circumstances. Know this and walk in it.
Choose to walk in joy.
How do you choose to walk in joy? Acknowledge in your heart that the Lord is near you. He sticks closer to you than a brother. He has promised to never leave or forsake you. He has promised to walk with you and be a light on the path that you have to walk. Make this choice today and you will most assuredly experience great joy and begin to live a life of no regrets.