Choose Joy Today
As we journey towards Easter this Lent, let’s not focus our minds on going without but have a new heart, one that is set free to live out the Gospel. For many of us, life is hard. We might be experiencing the extra burden of the pandemic, financial stress, or even marital and parental stress, but the truth is, how we deal with these difficulties has a big impact on how they ultimately impact us.
No matter what you are going through or what struggles you might be experiencing, one thing we can do is work on choosing joy. Joy is a gift that the Lord offers to each one of us. It begins with welcoming Jesus into our life and living out the Gospel message. I have found through 21 years of parenting that it helps to focus on being grateful for each and every breath from the first of the day to the last breath before bed. When we appreciate our life, we are set free to experience the joy of the Lord.
As a busy mom of seven, I know what it feels like to have an “empty fuel tank”, to feel burned out or just plain grumpy, and yet, the Lord wants to fill us up in those difficult moments and inspire us to have the “long-game of life” in perspective.
When we pause and recall the Scripture in John’s Gospel, “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10), we are reassured and reminded that God wants what is best for us so much that he came into the world and offered the life of his very own Son so we could have it.
Here are five suggestions that have made a huge difference in my life in choosing joy and living for eternity.
- Galatians 5:22- the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. What kind of fruit are you bearing in your life? Would your family agree that you are striving for these, or would they say that you lack these fruits?
- Set up your day for success! Do not over-schedule or overtax yourself. If you get organized, rise early and stay in line with the will of God for your day, you will see the blessings the Lord has to offer.
- Change your Attitude- Sometimes, we need to choose joy when we are faced with something difficult, and we “just don’t feel like doing it”.
- Create opportunities for joy. My mom taught me that joy is most often found in the little moments of life. Joy can be found in the small things of life.
- Allow your heart to be light. Seek to surrender to the Lord your troubles and trust in His ways. Strive to be a person who is building a legacy of joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. As parents, this is an important component of our legacy we can pass on from one generation to the next.
Joy is a prayer,
Joy is strength,
Joy is love,
Joy is a net of love,
By which you can catch souls.
-St. Mother Teresa