“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” ~Hymn verse derived from Philippians 4:4
In all the commandments of the Bible, rejoicing is something I struggle with the most. Who would of thought, this little word that promises happiness and brings to mind big brass bands on a sunlit Central Park. REJOICE from rooftops and porch swings.
The key to mastering this little word full of big action? The re(joy) in the rejoicing. We’re not meant just to celebrate God once, then shuttle him off into a corner as we go about our ordinary lives. No, we are meant to constantly and consistently find the joy of the Lord throughout our days, so the ordinary becomes the extraordinary. In it’s own right, rejoicing is a means to repent. I don’t know about your spiritual life, but when someone calls me to repent, I sometimes feel like I’m being punished or called out. Actually, repenting really just means turning back towards God and all that He offers. It’s putting the focus back on what God brings into our usually self-centered existences. What better way to turn back to God than to find the joy in life?
I found out about a little project called 100 Happy Days through A Beautiful Mess. What better way to put joy back into my life than with some social media accountability? To add to the challenge, I want to find ways to make my happiness in tandem with rejoicing. In other words, I want to turn back everything receive into thanks for who God is. Naturally, I’m not a very grateful person. I’m more comfortable with complaining and grumbling about every little thing until I’m flat out crying. (Seriously, it’s ridiculous). I also don’t want happiness to be my sole aim. I want my soul to aim towards rejoicing in God…and that might not mean making me happy. Perhaps the question might be, what would make God the happiest? That step might mean powering through an awkward encounter with a new acquaintance or giving a hard piece of advice to a friend. What makes God happy might not make me completely content in the process, but I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit is living and active inside us. When we make God happy, I’m sure the Holy Spirit does a very awesome version of a happy dance within you and me.
I’ve been reading up on my positive psychology and productivity lately. All roads point to thankfulness. What better way to enjoy life than to remember and thank God for the grace He’s given for today? In this life, nothing is a guarantee, but everything is a gift. Lately, I took a note from a TEDtalk to start writing down positive memories. So far, I’ve:
1. Told a friend they had a responsibility as the last surviving unicorn to prance into people’s lives. (This still makes me smile.)
2. Seen a child open a backyard gate and a door while on a unicycle, like its no big deal.
3. Been surprised by a Chinese flute playing gentlemen in an impeccable brown fedora three days in a row. (I missed his playing today, but he is quite talented).
4. Played and lost a ridiculous amount of iPad, Wii and card games with my family. We shared the agony and glory of Angry Birds, Tower and Zelda antics. Stunned them all with my obnoxious laughter. Awesome.
5. Eaten brownies made with only 3 ingredients, one being a cup full of Nutella. No regrets at all.
I’m still the same freckly crazy person with an unhealthy relationship to lindy hop and Doctor Who. However, I’m starting to learn that life is a lot easier when you let God have your happy moments and sad tales. Honestly, if I spent half as much time praying for people as I do complain about people, maybe the world would be just a little bit brighter.
So…I’m off to play the ukulele, smile one more time and forget what it means to be depressed.
“Today is the day that the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it.”