Thursday, September 29, 2011

Strength in Joy

When it already takes everything in you to get up in the morning, climb down the ladder of your bed, shower, and walk to class, adding a migraine hangover doesnt help much. So I laid there for a few minutes trying to figure out how I was going to get through my day. I prayed. I prayed for the strength to, first, just get out of bed. I got out of bed. Then I prayed for strength to get ready. I got ready. Then I prayed for strength to walk all the way to class... I got to class and opened up my Bible before it started:

Nehemiah 8:10 - “Go your way...the joy of the LORD is your strength.”


There is strength in joy.

But unlike happiness that is a feeling based on circumstances, joy is a choice. You must choose to accept it and live it out.

What is joy? Basically it is living in confidence that whatever circumstance one is faced with, that God is ultimately in control of the entire situation and has your best interest at heart no matter what. Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit, so all Christians are given this gift. But not all accept it, obviously. In order to reap the benefits and the strength of the joy of the Lord, one must embrace this gift and live it out. And there is so much strength to be had once joy is chosen.

Interestingly enough, a study was done about how the body is physically affected by our minds. "It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought." 1 No wonder one finds strength when joy is embraced!

So next Monday when you dont think you'll have the energy to get through the week, grab a hold of joy. Find your strength in this gift.

1 James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You Are Beautiful

“Do I look pretty?”

I smiled and looked down at little Chloe as she twirled around the room in her “pretty girl dress” all dolled up in ribbons, bows, and beaded necklaces with the most precious smile of delight on her face.

“Of course you do, Sweetie.”

Then I stopped and realized: This innocent question of but a two-year-old echoes the cries of every girl’s heart, young or old - “Am I beautiful?”

I believe this is an indwelling, God-given yearning for all women – to know and be told that they are beautiful. But society today has distorted the definition of beauty by focusing on features such as weight, style, hair color, skin tone, etc. leaving roughly 2% of women today describing themselves as beautiful.

But beauty is not simply a physical attribute. Nay, nay. It is a characteristic, a mindset, a heart. As Audrey Hepburn once said, “The true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.” Physical beauty diminishes with age. But inward beauty has the chance to develop as one gets older. It all has to do with one’s attitude and outlook on life. Taking joy simply in life itself and the simple things found in it can be one of the best cosmetics ever offered to a woman. In fact, Charles Dickens once state that “Cheerfulness and contentment are great beautifiers and are famous preservers of youthful looks.”

Striving to look physically attractive is by no means wrong, as long as it is not overemphasized. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Let not your quest be completely centered around finding physical beauty. For physical beauty only lasts so long. Continue pursuing a heart that is beautiful for God, living in the fear of Him and finding joy in the simple things in life that He has created just to make you smile. Then, you are truly beautiful.