Tag Archives: joy

Free From Anxiety

When those light-colored strands showed up in my dark blond hair, I turned to the bottle. (Hair dye, not alcohol!) I checked regularly for that distinct line of natural color showing at the roots and quickly covered it with a more flattering shade. Once I started this routine, I became addicted. I worried that I would look “old” with gray hair.

Once, I tried letting it grow out. Instead of a few strands, the gray hairs had multiplied to half my hair. I earned every one of those gray hairs but felt insecure about them and returned to the bottle. (again, Hair dye!)

When I found out I was going to be a grandmother, I decided it was time to give up the faux color. I expected the blond to now be all gray. To my surprise, when the dye was gone I was sporting a head of snow white hair with silver highlights. Was I ready for this?

In my past, I was anxious about my hair, my weight, how I dressed; basically everything. I Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I gave my fear of what people thought to my Lord and am now able to accept myself as God made me; even white hair. The freedom to be happy with my appearance has given me an unexpected joy.

Is there something that you worry about? How can you free yourself from it?

Gratitude

I have so much around me to be thankful for. Three large picture windows in my living room give me a wide view of the green meadow lined with timber. Playful calves run beside their mothers and mingle with the horses. Today some wild turkey wandered through and at dusk the deer filed in for their nightly grazing.

Wow, that’s just one view. Add to it my wonderful family filled with love and health, some precious friends and a compassionate church family. God blessed me in many ways, but I don’t always feel grateful.

Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote in Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy that there “are six threads of abundant living which produce a tapestry of contentment.
Gratitude is when we do a mental and spiritual inventory of all we have and realize we are rich indeed. Gratitude gives way to:
Simplicity, the desire to clear out, pare down, and realize the essentials of what we need to live truly well. Simplicity brings:
Order, both internally and externally. A sense of order brings us:
Harmony which provides us with the inner peace we need to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
Beauty opens us to
Joy.”

When I read Sarah’s book, I realized that gratitude is not a feeling but a way to think. When we weave the six “threads” together they form a shield against the chaos of life. Chaos can rob us of joy. Sometimes we have to fill our minds with the rich blessings given us before our emotions will follow.

How do you regain the joy of gratitude when you are feeling low?

(Breathnach, Sarah Ban, Warner Books, 1995, January 3.)

Claiming You Inheritance

In the last weeks, I have talked about three of the riches we receive when we inherit the Kingdom of God by believing in Christ Jesus. The first one was hope. We have an expectation that God will fulfill our desires when we place our trust in Him. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19 NIV) I like this analogy of our hope holding us in place so that we are not tossed into danger but is keeping us solid in rough times.
Forgiveness was the second riches I mentioned. “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, therefore you are feared.” (Psalm 130:3-4 NIV) I think of fear as awe or honor. God tears up any evidence of our sins; He deserves our highest respect.
Joy was the next treasure. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit that become ours when we choose to follow God. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) All are available to us as part of our inheritance. When we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, they are within our reach.
We don’t have to wait until we reach heaven to enjoy the inheritance that is ours. God has provided many good things for us to experience while we are alive. Claiming our inheritance doesn’t mean we will never see hard times. It means we have the tools available to help us navigate the challenges. And we are never alone. The Holy Spirit is in us and should be the one at the helm, directing our position.

Are you claiming the riches that your position as an heir gives you?