...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

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wake Up to Joy

Lasting joy is God's gift to give 
"Because he lives, all fear is gone." Really? If having no fear is the measure of Christian spirituality, then I know many believers, including myself, that don't make the cut.

Nowhere does Jesus promise that all our fears will dissolve. Instead, relationship with him is about asking, and receiving fullness of joy. John 16:23-24 The truth is, we will never understand what Jesus is talking about, what joy is, until we know ourselves to be loved. Joy is a true and lasting fruit of Holy Spirit, and it's the result of being loved by God. 

Most, if not all, joys are short- lived, and come with attachment and addiction. And harmful consequences to ourselves and others. The fix that we get from a drink, a shiny new sports car, a drug, money, power, or relationship, is a toxic substitute for the joy of loving and accepting our true selves. We cannot have enough of anything that isn't working.

Looking on the outside in the world of things and people and relationships will not save us from unhappiness. The joy of John 16 is an inside job, to use words parallel the famous Jesuit author, John S. Powell.  Joy comes as a result of the gift, the inheritance of God's eternal life and love. I Peter 1.

The way to joy lies in affirming that what God did in creation was good. God first loved us, and we let that become our joy.   

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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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