‘When you woke up this morning, was your attitude more along the lines of excitement for what lies ahead, or was it more a dread of what lies ahead and just wanting to stay in bed?  Maybe somewhere in between, but usually we lean toward one side or the other.  Honestly, I am a morning person, and if I get at least 4-5 hours of sleep, I’m up and ready to charge ahead for the day.  Most of my days are not always filled with smiles and sunshine, but there are often several things I do look forward to each day.  It may be small things, like a chance to talk to someone, try something new, or hearing what new things my kids will do or say.  Like tomorrow, I have a couple meetings I’m not fully prepared for, but should be soon, and look forward to the chance to get done what needs getting done.  There may not be a lot of things we are looking forward to today, but having the chance to do them and finding a few small things we enjoy should at least bring us a bit of joy.  What are you most looking forward to today? 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.   Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:33-34

Most of us don’t wake up each day and exclaim “Yipeee!  I got another day to do things!”  You may have said this a time or two, though maybe not out loud, if you recently had a near death experience or something else that made you realize your own mortality is close.  I often hear from people who have suffered a heart attack, or nearly avoided one, that they have a new outlook on life, and in some ways a second chance at life.  If you’ve ever had a close call while driving or an accident that could easily have been much worse, you may thank God you are alive immediately after, but eventually that seems to wear off and you go ‘back to normal’ and take life for granted again.  But is it possible to live life every day with a joy in being alive?  Maybe not a giddy type of joy, but just living your life in appreciation of it, and the rest of the world and life all around you?  Maybe.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.  Hebrews 12:28 

We all usually experience things through the day that bring us a little joy, like a nice meal, a good conversation with a friend, etc.  But what about the regular, mundane things like doing the dishes or laundry, cleaning the house, driving somewhere, working at our job, etc.  Can we find joy in those things?  I often think of the comment of a 17th century monk named Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God), who tried to find joy and a sense of serving God when he washed the dishes every day in a monastery.  We can find enjoyment in the ordinary.  But what about when things don’t go our way, or bad things happen?  We may not find enjoyment in them, but we can learn from them, help others in them, and grow through those experiences, no matter whether it was our fault or not.  When we can find some meaning in both the good, bad, and indifferent things each day, then we can start to see God there and find His joy.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

One way to help bring about more joy in our lives each day, is to be more thankful.  When we give thanks and truly appreciate all that we have been given, we can more easily find reasons to be appreciative through the day.  When we start to become more entitled, selfish, and demanding, then any joy that might have been there rushes from our lives, like the wind.  Even when we live and work in demanding environments, its easy to be more reactive and quick tempered, and it takes a broader view and determined patience to avoid letting all those things get to us.  When we take a moment to breathe and give thanks for what we do have, we can more easily see that joy is still there, in the person of Christ, and it is complete in Him.  With Christ, there is always joy, but without him, it will always elude us.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9

Yours in Christ,
Clark