30 March, 2017

Lighten Up and Have Some Joy

Galatians 5:22 says, "THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS...JOY."
Over the years I have come to realize that most of us are just far too serious for our own good. 
We can be so uptight about anything and everything, like:
* running a couple of minutes late, 
* getting stuck in slow or stalled traffic, 
* having to wait in line with a slow cashier
* somebody looking at us wrong
* somebody not looking at us at all
* having to wait 5 minutes for someone late for a meal
* gaining a pound
* discovering a new gray hair or wrinkle
* making an honest mistake
* you name it - we lose all perspective! 

The problem is that we have unrealistic (and unscriptural) expectations of ourselves and others. 
Nowhere did God say that He'd take us out of all our troubles.
He did say that He'd bring us through them and make us stronger. 

If you want to experience the joy Jesus promised, do two things:

(1) Admit that your uptightness is largely because of the way you've decided life should be.

(2) Understand that your expectations are causing most of your frustrations.

If you keep expecting things to be a certain way and they aren't, you'll always be upset. 
Here's an idea: try approaching each day without all those expectations. 
For example, don't require everybody to be friendly; then when someone is friendly, you will be delighted. 
Don't expect your day to be trouble-free; instead when problems come, say: "Thank you, Lord, for a chance to grow in grace." 
Do it, and you'll see how much better everything is. 
Rather than fighting against life you'll be flowing with it. 
And pretty soon, if you work at it, you'll enjoy your life more - and other people will enjoy being around you much more too! 
That's why Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG
“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”

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