Tuesday, October 30, 2012

30 Days of Authenticity- Day 22: Choose Joy!

Over the last ten years, we've allowed ourselves to redefine what normal life looks like.  In particular, we've allowed Reality TV, which is usually staged and utterly ridiculous, to mold us into a totally new society with new expectations and norms.  The biggest shift I've noticed is that teenagers and adults alike have this dangerous idea that everything in our lives is supposed to be dramatic, miserable, overly complicated, and downright overwhelming.  How crazy!  This need for constant drama and difficulty has done nothing but suck the joy right out of us.  Think of all those video confessionals we watch.  They're usually nothing more than an absurdly dramatic rehashing of some big offense, just another chance to add more tension and to make the show "more interesting."   This video confessional mentality really does change how we cope.  I see it all the time; whether in person or through social media, it has changed the way we deal with real life  That's not to say that complications don't show up from time to time, but God didn't bless us with life in order for us to spend it stirring up or being involved in drama.   All of these blessing and gifts in our lives are supposed to be enjoyed and shared, rather than ignored as we tweet and post about everything that's going wrong.
I'll admit that I've said many times here that we've got to be transparent and authentic in the good and bad-that's so true- but if all we're projecting to others as a child of God is how awful life is, then we've lost our joy. Remember, everything about us reflects God. We shouldn't be in continuous "pity party" mode; it minimizes everything we believe.  As believers, joy should come as easily as breath itself.   Our reasons to smile far outweigh any reasons not to.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said "Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God."  We should be constantly rejoicing.  A joyful attitude is contagious!  That's how we lead others to Him; we show them something different from the world. 
"Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are." ~Marianne Williamson
The Word tells us in Philippians 4 to "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"  Again in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 we are simply told to "Rejoice always." Those charges are simple enough to understand.   The key here is to rejoice in the Lord always and not dwell on the world.  When you focus on Him and His goodness, it's easy to smile.  It's only when we take our eyes off of Him and get caught up in this world and its distractions that we find so many reasons for complaint.  Let's get away from the Reality TV mindset.  Let's make sure that others can see His presence.  Let's focus on Him and fill our lives with authentic joy. 

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