Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Grunts. Kicks. Moans. All by 8:30 in the morning.

Complaints about what is in the fridge to eat. Complaints about the days plans. Words like these: “Grateful? For what?”

These words were muttered into not our first week, but our SECOND week at the beach.

Let me say that again…our SECOND week.

And, yet; there wasn’t anything of which to be grateful?

For the last several months or so I have been pondering the concept of joy, and what it truly means. Is it being happy because everything is going as planned? Is it having all the things? Accomplishing all the things?

No. Because you can have all the things, and still not be joyful.

You can eat the finest food, and still complain it’s too salty or not salty enough.

You can have an abundance of money, and still not be satisfied with what that money can buy; always wanting more.

You can defeat your toughest challenge. Run your toughest race. Play your best game, and still complain that your time wasn’t as good as last time, or that you missed too many shots.

Or…you can have two weeks at the beach, and complain that you sat too long at the ocean. The sand feels funny. It’s too windy. Just to name a few.

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Joy.

It comes from giving praise for the things you do have. Even if you don’t have it all. Giving praise for what is going well, even if other things just aren’t that great.

It comes from looking around you each day and expressing thanks for all that has been given.

For me, it began with examining whether my own heart was expressing joy, or expressing grunts and grumbles. With sitting down each day after some of the hardest days at work, and jotting down at least one thing that went well. Even if it was only ONE thing.

It started with one. Then two. Until now, each morning, I begin my day with three. Three things for which I am grateful.

And while there are definitely days I don’t get it right, and still grumble; having a daily list of things that are good. That fill my heart with joy. Well, it helps me shrug off some of the junk in life a little bit easier.

Being stuck in traffic means we have the ability to travel.

Being sticky and sandy means I spent the day at the beach.

Running out of my favorite chips means I had food to eat in the first place.

Not coming in first place means I started something. And I finished.

It means that when life throws me something besides joy, I can still find it.

And encourage others to look for it, too.

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