THE JOY­FUL HEART

Activated - - NEWS - By Marie Alvero

Dear Je­sus, I be­lieve in You and in­vite You to come into my life. Please help me to love You and to be­come a hap­pier, more grate­ful per­son. Amen.

As fol­low­ers of Je­sus, “grate­ful” should be our de­fault set­ting when we con­sider that Je­sus died to re­deem us from an eter­nity of be­ing separated from God. This should put a spring in our step and cause all the not-so-great stuff to bounce off as ir­rel­e­vant. But I tend to suc­cumb to less-than-grate­ful re­ac­tions, be­cause, well, traf­fic, mess, stress, too lit­tle of this, too much of that. You know how it goes.

Still, I know that in the big pic­ture all the daily de­tails mat­ter very lit­tle, and I want to have joy in my heart. Let me share with you three areas that I have been con­cen­trat­ing on in or­der to be more pos­i­tive in my re­ac­tions and out­look.

Be grate­ful for the small­est things

I'm learn­ing to no­tice the small­est things that bring joy, and the list is end­less: the sun­rise, the sun­set, a great cup of cof­fee, the cool morn­ing air, the laugh­ter of chil­dren, my hus­band's strong arms, a good book, my pil­low, and on and on the list goes. I've dis­cov­ered that keep­ing a long string of small joys in mind can do won­ders for ab­sorb­ing the im­pact of some of the harder things life throws at me.

Don’t get at­tached to any par­tic­u­lar out­come

This is a hard one! There are times when I've had very strong feel­ings about what I be­lieve the out­come should be, but there were things at play that I couldn't con­trol. It's of­ten hard for me to say “Ei­ther way I'll be grate­ful,” be­cause who wants to be grate­ful for a bad di­ag­no­sis or a re­jected job ap­pli­ca­tion? But I've learned that my grat­i­tude is not meant to be based on the out­come, but rather based on the fact that God is good. Al­ways. Even when His good­ness is be­yond my com­pre­hen­sion.

Re­mem­ber God’s good­ness

For all my wor­ry­ing, for all the tight spots, for all the dif­fi­cult jour­neys, haven't I come through okay? None of the hard things have al­to­gether ru­ined me. I've never reached a place where God's love couldn't find me. Like Paul says: “En­durance de­vel­ops strength of char­ac­ter, and char­ac­ter strength­ens our con­fi­dent hope.” When I pause to re­mem­ber

1 God's good­ness, my heart is flooded with that truth and my out­look can again be­come grate­ful. Marie Alvero is a for­mer mis­sion­ary to Africa and Mex­ico. She cur­rently lives a happy, busy life with her hus­band and chil­dren in Cen­tral Texas, USA.

1. Ro­mans 5:4 NLT

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