...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Joy- The Fruit of Being Loved

In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. Luke 1: 47 CEB

Deep gladness is there for the taking
Perhaps humor is an easier way to transcendence- since joy can be hard, especially if we're hurting.

I remember a wise friend once said that laughter is God's respite from grief. If you're in a season of grief, you may well find this to be true. In laughter, our body releases endorphins that can ease the pain and make our loss a little more bearable, at least for a time.  

While joy is not the same as happiness, it can't be bad to be happy and joyful. Chesterton once wrote that gratitude is the real measure of happiness. Whenever I see my life as entitlement, my happiness and joy are diminished.  

Losing joy is something we do to ourselves. We begin seeing our lives less and less as a gift and a mercy. We squawk when there's no hot water. We begin to expect privileges and tell ourselves we're deserving. We end up praying the prayer of the Pharisee. (see Luke 18) We say  "there but the grace of God go I," when life regularly challenges our notions of control and power.
 
When it comes to joy, Mary has got to be the hero. She's the one who teaches us about gift, wonder, surrender, and hope. And her joy lives "in the depths" of her true self! A true and lasting fruit of Holy Spirit, joy is that gift that lives within the depths because of God's amazing love for us!

Out of love God gave us life, and out of love, God lives in us. God is with us when we're at our worst. Even when we don't "feel blessed" and when there's little evidence of anything to be joyful about,  God's love and mercy are there for us- and all the stronger. 

Could it be Jesus had joy in mind when he said there's a treasure in us where neither rust can consume nor moth can destroy? Don't let joy pass you by because it's here for the taking. Jesus said, "Up to now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive so that your joy will be complete." John 16:24 CEB 




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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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