Living in JOY: Is it possible @ any age?

“The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to see God’s beauty in all situations, allowing JOY to well up in our hearts supernaturally” quote by Traci Little.

6 Ways Our Kids Can Learn to Live in Joy by Traci Little.

In no way would I change or want to take away from Traci’s thoughts below, but I do want like to add a thought or two:

  • If you have children, this is FABULOUS. It is challenging, thought provoking, and helpful in steering…no, shepherding our child/children’s hearts. Parents, we cannot teach our children what we ourselves do not know or live out spiritually.
  • If you don’t have children (whether single, married, etc.) this is still just as FABULOUS! Please read. As you read, take these thoughts a step further and consider “6 Ways I Can Learn to Live in Joy!”
  • So regardless of the stage of life you are in, JOY.

[back to Traci…]


If you’ve been a parent for very long, you know how your heart beams when your children play nicely with one another.

You could be enjoying this harmonious bliss of listening to your children playing, laughing, and sharing. And, the next minute? Suddenly, they begin hitting and spewing hurtful words at one another! What happened? Happy one minute and angry the next.

Unfortunately, not much changes when we become adults. While we may not fling a stapler across a coworker’s desk, we certainly may think or say things in the heat of the moment that we regret later.

  • Emotions like happiness and anger are fleeting and unpredictable.
  • Joy, on the other hand, is the foundation for all other emotions. It’s the bedrock that keeps us together in emotion-filled situations where we could potentially unravel. Jesus is the only one who can open our eyes to see His glory. When He does, we experience His perfect joy.
  • You can’t fake joy; you either have it or you don’t.
  • It’s the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Joy is a deep sense of assurance that God’s got us! It’s a peaceful confidence and surrender to the Lord’s plan for our lives.

This is something we want for our children, isn’t it? When our children understand that Jesus is the source of real joy, something truly amazing and life-changing will take place. When our children understand this foundational truth, they can have peace and praise God through everything — good and bad. Our joy spreads when we share it with others. Joy wasn’t meant to be kept all to ourselves.

The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to see God’s beauty in all situations, allowing JOY to well up in our hearts supernaturally. It’s an in-explainable case study set up next to the reasoning of the world.

  • Proverbs 8:32-35 says, “And so, My children, listen to Me, for all who follow My ways are JOYFUL. Listen to My instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.  Joyful are those who listen to Me, watching for Me daily at My gates, waiting for Me outside My home! For whoever finds Me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.

Below are six simple ways we can talk with our children about where joy can be found.
6 Ways We Can Teach Our Children to Find Joy:

  • 1) Joy is found in avoiding evil and sinful ways (Psalm 1:1-3). Our children may be tempted to follow their peers that are choosing evil instead of good. While sin may be deceitfully appealing, its ways end in death. Talk about how the person’s life that avoids evil is like a fruitful tree along a riverbank!
  • 2) Joy is found in following God’s commandments (Psalm 19:8). God says that following His ways brings joy to the heart and great insight. Remind your children that following God’s commandments brings joy and wisdom.
  • 3) Joy is found in having integrity (Psalm 119:1-3). We can talk with our children about integrity. Integrity is a knowledge of right and wrong and not swaying from that path no matter what (even when others are not around).
  • 4) Joy is found in trusting the Lord. The Bible is filled with verses that speak about the joy God wants to give us we choose to trust in Him. (Proverbs 16:20) The Bible says that joy is found in those that listen and trust what God says.
  • 5) Joy is found in receiving God’s help (Psalm 28:7). This verse speaks about the Lord being our strength and shield. This implies that He is our protector and guider. When we believe this and see His power at work in our lives, this fills our heart with joy and peace!
  • 6) Joy is found in trials (James 1:2-4). This seems like the opposite of what the world tells us. The world will tell our children that looking out for themselves and having all the things this world has to offer brings true happiness. But, according to the Bible, trials help us turn hard situations into moments of great blessing! Only God can do that! When our faith is tested, it gives us opportunity for our endurance to grow. Talk with your child about how training for a marathon stretches our muscles and builds are physical endurance. Although painful in the moment, it pushes us to be stronger and run further.

Truth be told, this is not just for children, is it?!!?!!

  • Even as I re-read these six ways my soul, mind, and thoughts are rebuked, challenged, yet encouraged in my walk with the Lord.
  • May this be for you as well, I pray!
  • Yes! As a parent, I DO want my children to grasp these Biblical principles then choose to personally live them out truly experiencing a life well lived in Christ’s real joy, but I cannot teach them what I do not first learn and live out myself.
  • Children are smart little critters. They will see our hypocrisy and what will that gain Christ, nothing, and we do injustice to our children.
  • Live it out first — whether you have children or not, whether you are married or not, status doesn’t matter before God, but your heart does!

“Oh Lord, may we walk in obedience before you and in our journey as parents shepherding our children’s hearts as individual souls training them up in the way(s) you have created in them.  Help us Lord to continually point them to you alone and not ourselves or others.  Lord, may we personally be actively pursuing you and be proactive in parenting and never see our God-given role as an inconvenience or bother, for their souls are created in your image! Help us cherish the treasure we call our children. Help us treasure the gift of your Joy. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

 In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

 

C.S. Lewis & Joy {2}

{Lewis quotes and excerpts from Shadowlands and Songs of Light: An Journey into Joy and Healing Author: Kevin Ott}

When Joy Moves Us

When Joy moves us, a new question may enter our minds:

“How do I go about spending more time with God?”

Fortunately, Jesus answered this question for us: Go to the secret place. We are to go into a room alone and close a door behind us. If we do not have a room at our disposal, we find a corner or place of separation that provides solitude, even if only a little.

The next question follows:

What do we do there?

Jesus told us to go and pray. Volumes have been written about prayer, but all of it can be distilled into one simple principle:

the prayer that happens in the secret place is meant to be a heart-to-heart encounter between you and your Abba Father and not an intellectual exercise.

The secret place is where you bare your heart before God and pour every ounce of it at His feet ─ whether it be sorrow, gladness, thanksgiving, intercession, or all of it mixed together. In turn, God draws near and shelters you with His presence in the secret place.

✓ So…do you have one {a secret place}?

✓ Do you go there?

✓ Oh have you ever longed for this sweet place with God?

✓ Have you ever asked Him these very questions?

✓ Have you ever longed so intensely that you weren’t able to think of anything else but Him, His Word, and the time you so longed for?

✓ “It’s a force you cannot stop — for it comes from within and wants more, and to go and be there is pure joy!”

✓ So what’s stopping you? He is longing for you to come! GO!
 

 

 

C.S. Lewis & Joy {1}

{Lewis quotes and excerpts from Shadowlands and Songs of Light: An Journey into Joy and Healing} Author: Kevin Ott

the Other-Worldly Joy

In C.S. Lewis’ autobiography, Surprised by Joy, he tells of experiencing an other-worldly joy ─ a specific Joy that defies our modern understanding. This idea of Joy is not a satisfied desire but an unsatisfied desire ─ a deep longing for God, a hungry pursuit of God’s heart that never ends and is more satisfying than any earthly happiness.

Lewis recalls three seemingly trivial and disconnected events with a common thread: he experienced a sudden, piercing pang of longing ─ a bittersweet ache and yearning for something far-off, other-worldly, and unnamed during each event.

He would later recognize these sudden aches of longing: a deep spiritual hunger for God ─ not just for an intellectual knowledge of God, but for a real relationship with Him. These deep longings in Lewis’ life ─ these stabs of Joy ─ worked as flashing sign-markers pointing him down the path toward Christ.

How to Act on This:

True Joy, as Lewis presents it to us, is the ache for something beyond this world. The Holy Spirit uses this restlessness to awaken spiritual hunger. When little moments of life ─ like the way the light falls on a summer evening ─ stir you with a deep longing that’s hard to define, don’t look to earthly pursuits to fill the void. Instead, allow the ache to push you deeper into your relationship with God. Pursue Him. Allow that longing for Him to become the hottest fire in your heart.

C. S. Lewis Quote of the Day, from Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life:

“The reader who finds these three episodes [in which Joy occurred] of no interest need read this book no further, for in a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else.”

Shadowlands and Songs of Light Quote of the Day:

“Joy—that sharp, wonderful Stab of Longing—has a lithe, muscular lightness to it. It’s deft. It produces longing that weighs heavy on the heart, but it does so with precision and coordination…it dashes in with the agility of a hummingbird claiming its nectar from the flower, and then zips away. It pricks, then vanishes, leaving a wake of mystery and longing behind it.”

Passage: Psalm 16:11