The world is a mess. We only have to flip through the news channels or read online to know that it seems the world is falling apart. We consistently look around us and wonder who will be the one to fix it all. I wrote about this last summer when I talked about making America great again. We mistakenly look to politicians to make everything ok. We think if we elect the right people who think just like we do that all our problems will be solved. Unfortunately we are mistaken… change won’t come through politicians. Putting our world back together again, changing the “bad” into “good”, and bringing about peace and stability has to start at home. In MY home. In YOUR home. Change can only come if we are willing to be instruments of change. How many of us desire real change? How many of us are willing to sacrifice for change?
Chapter 29: Dancing for Joy
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged when we watch the news or websites dedicated to current events. It seems like there is so much death, destruction, and hate in the world. We get depressed when we see how people are treating each other and we wonder why it has to be this way. We fail to realize that we have the power to effect change in our world.
Matthew Kelly points out that the group that can bring about the most change is Christians. If we each acted as Christians should act, the world would be a different place. But we don’t. We leave Christ’s message at the church as we go home after Mass and we fail to be a living testimony to God’s love and faithfulness. We fail to spread the joy that is found in Christ.
At the end of every Mass we are told to “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” This command tells us that we are to share Christ with everyone we meet. We are called to spread his light and his love. We are his servants who are invited to allow the joy he brings to us to permeate the world around us. If we each would rise to this command our world would be a completely different place to live.
Point to Ponder: There is nothing like the joy that God wants to fill your heart with.
There is a difference between joy and happiness. Many things can bring us happiness… but happiness is fleeting and dependent upon our circumstances. Happiness comes from outside of us and it is dependent upon how we feel at the moment. Joy is permanent and lasting; it is not dependent upon circumstances- it can be present even in the darkest times. Joy does not come from anything we do but from what God does for us.
Christ wishes to fill our lives with joy. He says in John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” He not only wants to bring us joy, he wants to make sure we are filled full of his joy. When we are filled with Christ’s joy it is easy to go and do his work in the world. It is easier to answer his call and to be the change we wish to see in the world. When we are full of joy we can live the life that Christ calls us to live and we can change our broken world.
Verse to Live: “A joyful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22
There are many people who regularly remark to me that my children seem so happy. Their eyes sparkle and they laugh easily. They don’t know a stranger and they are willing to help anyone in need. Most people, after spending time with my children, come away feeling better about life. I often have people tell me, “I just don’t know what it is about them, but they make me smile!” I don’t say this to brag but simply to state that I think that Christ’s joy is the reason. They are simply full of his joy.
People naturally want to be around joyful people. Joyful people bring healing to others. They raise their spirits and they make them feel needed and special… not because they do anything in particular, but simply because Christ’s joy radiates from them. When we allow Christ’s joy to infuse our lives and our hearts, we find healing too.
Question to Consider: Who or what is robbing you of joy?
While I am typically a very joyful person I believe that my inability to see my true worth sometimes robs me of joy. I worry so much that I’m not enough or that I am not worthy to be a beacon of God’s light and love.
Your Turn: Do you focus on happiness or joy? Can you have both in your life? How would your life change if you allowed Christ’s joy to infuse every part of your life?
Prayer: Lord, teach me to dance for joy.