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Joy: Addition by Subtraction

As I sit and look at my life and I look at the things that I want to get better at, one thing that quickly comes to my mind is how irritated I can get so quickly at times. I want to experience more joy in my life and when I think about these two things together I come to this point of understanding... I believe that I tend to get irritated so quickly at times is because I feel as though I'm always running late for the next thing that's on my list! Whether it be the next place to be, or the next thing to do, it always seems as though there is a next and the list never gets shortened, let alone completed. It's almost as if we hasten the time of our days when we do this. We always have so many things to do. As adults, and if we are responsible adults, then we have a lot of things to take care of… whether that be a house to maintain, a family to provide for and watch over, a job at which we work to provide for the family and the house be maintained. Then, if we have children, they have many extracurricular activities in which they are involved, whether that be music lessons, sports practices, academics with homework and such, and that doesn't yet touch o those on church and church activities, which are such a big part of our lives! As you can see from this short paragraph how easy it is to have such a long list of "next" things to do. I think that one of the greatest things that we can do in our lives, one of the best ways that we can attempt to add joy, would be by taking things off of our To Do List. That is not an easy task! My wife received, not too long ago, a book called The Best Yes. The main point of that book is for us to learn to use the word no. We all too often get ourselves in all of these extracurricular activities because we say yes to everything because we want to please people and be liked. These things that we want to do with our children or for others are not bad things, but they so often put us into a bad place…a rushed environment, an environment with expectations that we cannot really live up to. And in essence what we're doing is stifling our joy because all that we're trying to accomplish in our lives is "getting to the next thing" and we don't really get to enjoy the thing that we just did or even the thing that we're in the midst of doing. With all of this going on the stress only seems to be multiplied at this time of year, at the time of these wonderful holidays in which we are to be most glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ. It seems to me that we are allowing satan to use these lists of "things to do" to draw so away from Jesus. The enemy is trying to steal my joy, and I'm allowing him to do so! Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life, He is the Living Bread and Water of Life, He is the peace that surpasses all understanding, and He is the Joy that lives within us. So, as we are focusing this advent season, as we are celebrating the anniversary of His first coming, and anticipating His second coming...keep Him as that focus...and in that you will experience the Joy of true life in Him. May you be blessed this Christmas season.

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