JOY! – Soul Fast update 3

Week 3 of the ’40 Day Soul Fast’ by Dr Cindy Trimm. Available from amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/40-Day-Soul-Fast-Authentic/dp/0768440262/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340404435&sr=1-1&keywords=40+day+soul+fast

So much learned this week: where to start?

At the beginning! Day 1 – discipline. Ouch! I’m not a neat and tidy person; I feel uncomfortable if things are too neat – and I’m not too good with rigid routines. But there has to be balance. Too much chaos is stressful. As the week has moved on, I’ve found things that can help gain that balance.

Days 1 and 2 spoke about love: ‘wear love, it’s your basic all-purpose garment.’ Colossians 3:14 The Message. Paul also links love with discipline: ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’ 2Timothy 1:7. Some translations have ‘sound mind’ instead of ‘self-discipline’. When I looked up the Greek, the word used is sophronismos which can mean ‘soundness of mind, then self-discipline as a result.’ So the sound mind comes first.

Cindy tells us to ‘Practice “taking every thought captive” (2Corinthians 10:15) – that means every unloving, unforgiving, selfish thought!’ Thinking loving thoughts and letting go of unloving ones leads to loving behaviour, and then to loving feelings. I was encouraged because I’ve been doing this for some time.

Day 2 spoke about simplicity in the context of love. ‘What is important is faith expressing itself in love.’ Galatians 5:6. ‘Love is the fulfilment of the law.’ Romans 13:10. I remembered that Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into one, ‘love God’, and its rider, ‘and your neighbour as yourself’.

‘Keep it simple. Walk in love…  – Created by Love to love.’

The next three days I found particularly encouraging. I’ve already shared my thoughts on Day 13 here:  https://delemares.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/soul-fast-day-13-a-day-of-encouragement/

The next day, Cindy quoted 2Corinthians 8:7 from The Message:

‘You do so well in so many things – you trust God, you’re articulate, you’re insightful, you’re passionate, you love – now go and do your best.’

Wow! It was as if God were speaking directly to me. It has encouraged me to continue with this blog. I’m passionate about helping people to live a life worth living (the aim of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy – DBT). We are created in the image of God and one way for me to show this is to help people lead fuller lives, following Jesus who came so that we might have ‘abundant life’. (John 10:10)

Lastly we looked at joy, and were asked to identify the joy-thieves in our lives, and to think of how we might get rid of them.

I realised that using mindfulness (the key DBT skill) should help me beat the joy-thieves in my life. ‘Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of joy.’ (Cindy quoting Sarah Ban Breathnach).

A lot is often made of mindfulness coming from Buddhism – but it’s a skill at the heart of spiritual practice in many religions, not least Christianity.

I listed the following to help me stir up joy in my everyday life:

be thankful for small mercies (those ‘little’ things that make life that bit easier)
be thankful for everyday miracles (like breathing, the pumping of my heart)
be thankful for the wonders of nature (the beauty of the smallest flower, the richness of a flaming sunset)
to take time to stop, to notice with childlike curiosity, and be thankful.

‘Jesus came to empower you to maximise your joy because joy is your key to victory and a more vibrant and satisfying life… As the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus tapped into the power of joy to enable Him to endure the Cross (see Hebrews 12:2). Now that’s powerful.’

Have you any favourite ways of stirring up joy in your everyday life? Please share.

see here for more in this series of posts: https://delemares.wordpress.com/category/40-day-soul-fast/

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About Sandra Delemare

follower of Jesus, retired mental health nurse, writer. Interests: crochet, photography, wildlife I blog on biblical meditation, mental health and crochet. I'm also posting a series on my life story so people know where I'm coming from.
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8 Responses to JOY! – Soul Fast update 3

  1. Stirring up joy..hmmm Well, I guess playing with our little dog is one simple joy………..And seeing my sister and husband a couple of times a week for coffee or for dinner…she is my joy as we are so close…visiting our kids once in a while when it is possible..distance and their busyness of life is one limitation….and of course being in nature brings me joy…..Diane

    • delemares says:

      Thanks, Diane. So often it’s the simple things that bring us most joy. – it’s not rocket science. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said that unless we become like little children, we can’t enter the kingdom. Not that we are excluded, but we exclude ourselves.
      I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more pleasure and joy I get from the simple things of life.
      Be blessed… Sandra

  2. Thanks for bringing me to your post. I think that recently I’ve started realizing what really brings me joy and the fact that so many things in my life don’t. I need to change how I’m spending my time and focus on the joyful things. You are correct in telling me that things need to change. Thank you.

    • delemares says:

      I’m glad if it’s helping – hope I didn’t sound to harsh – but as a dear friend (who has been diagnosed with depression) often says, ‘if nothing changes, it’ll all stay the same.’… and if we’re not happy…
      I know it’s not easy – been having a bout of absence of joy myself recently – a lot of bad habits need dealing with.
      best wishes

  3. scskillman says:

    Just a couple of ways to stir up joy in everyday life – music, and the beauty of nature (easier in the springtime!)

  4. Gratitude is the best way to stir up joy. To truly know where we used to be and what we’ve come from – that’s what helps us to appreciate our blessings. Joy is the almost unstoppable result of being properly grateful.
    I’ve found the key isn’t just concentrating on how good things are now – because you can always focus on how they could be better. The key is focusing on how bad things could be. When I realize what I deserve as far as the punishment for my sins and my own pathetic efforts – that’s when God’s grace is truly amazing.

    • delemares says:

      Thank you for this comment, Loren. Being thankful that things aren’t a whole lot worse. – I’ll be writing on God’s amazing grace poured on me in the next but one of my ‘my story’ series.

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