"I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of life - the life he has given me.Sally gives two practical exercises to help us learn to "celebrate life".
But what does it mean to "celebrate life"? Does it mean that I let my house be a wreck so I can enjoy my children, or that I never entertain negative thoughts or attitudes, or that I never discipline my children? Does it mean that I simply overlook the myriad difficulties that inevitably spoil the best days, or that I ignore the burdens I carry as a stay-at-home mom, or that I close my eyes to intractable sins that won't go away?
Of course not! The joy-filled life is not found by diminshing my God-given responsibilities as a woman, wife, and mother, nor can I find joy merely by refusing to face the hard realities of life in a fallen world. There is a tension that God is asking me to acknowledge and accept - the tension between ideals and realities. That is where Jesus meets me, where his Holy Spirit empowers, and where I learn how to live the Christian life with supernatural joy. To celebrate life is simply a choice."
- Choose to be thankful
- Learn to be content
Paul told the Thessalonians to, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Sally goes on to say:
"When I pout instead of being joyful, grumble instead of praying, or complain instead of giving thanks, I am in effect telling God that he is mishandling my life and I don't care for the way he's doing his job. At that point, I have ceased to put my faith in my sovereign Lord, choosing instead to put my faith in my circumstances. In other words, I am telling God - and myself- that if and when my circumstances change, then and only then can I be happy. Until then, I have nothing to be thankful for. And that, according to Paul, is when I step outside God's will.Paul also said in Philippians 4:11, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."
My sinful heart might try to counter that it is the lousy circumstances that have forced me to wander outside of God's will, but that's just rationalization; it is my response to my circumstances that moved me out of God's will. That is why God admonishes me to be joyful and to give thanks in all circumstances. When I do that, no matter how bad the situation, I am acknowledging that he is in control. It is an act of faith. I can choose, by faith, to see God's hand within any and every circumstance of my life."
"His honest testimony is a forceful reminder to me that contentedness is never a gift or a given, but rather it is a learned condition. If I learn to be content, joy will naturally follow. Like thankfulness, though, I have to choose to be content before I can know joy. It is an act of faith."
Today I resolve to be thankful and content... as a wife AND as the mother of three small children! I choose joy! Will you choose joy? Can you find something to be thankful for? Can you be content with the things God has given you rather than wasting time wishing for more? God Almightly is sovereign and always in control, even in difficult circumstances! And for that alone, we should find contentment... being thankful that we have no need to worry. Celebrate life today! Celebrate life EVERYDAY! :)"It all comes down to this: Joy is the result of the choices that you make. If you are choosing to be thankful and learning to be content, then you are opening your heart to joy. Joy is not a a supernatural feeling that God pours on you from heaven but a gift of the Holy Spirit that is released by faith (see Galatians 5:22). You don't have to wait for God to give you joy. You simply need to get your self out of the way and let the Spirit fill your heart and mind with his truth. That is exactly what you are doing when you choose to thank God and be content in all circumstances. You are exercising faith, and that faith releases the joy of the Spirit in your life. Only through the Holy Spirit can you truly celebrate life and find the joy God wants you to know."