Jen’s Gem: Look up to find your joy.
Laundry. It is not my favorite chore, yet I will take it over grocery shopping any day of the week. However, doing this simple activity as of late has become a challenge due to either my washer or my dryer being broken.
It began with a dryer that stopped drying followed by a washing machine that shook so violently that I thought it would take off and I’d find it next to the Rover on Mars! The last straw was when it just stopped spinning, leaving me with a boatload of sopping wet towels.
Several calls and visits by the repair man resulted in two things: utter frustration on my part and multiple trips to the laundromat. When I made my “this is the last straw call,” it got the attention of the owner of the business. He came by, took one look and said “You’re better off replacing this.”
No problem! Because I have thousands of dollars just sitting in my bank account waiting to be spent on an appliance for a chore I don’t like doing.
To add insult to injury, my condo association has mandated that every owner replace their dryer ducts as they are a fire hazard. In addition to the vent that is attached to the dryer, I also have to replace the vent that goes from the dryer to the outside. Yay! Can’t wait to have my ceiling ripped open to replace something I’ll never see!
Ahh – such is life. I could lose my mind over these hiccups – or I could find the joy in them. I’ll admit there was a bit of mind losing as these sagas dragged on, but I’ve realized that the only person who is suffering from this decision is me. At the end of laundry day, it’s only a financial hiccup. If I’ve learned anything about God, it’s that He always provides and He will rinse and repeat His provision for me again.
Come next week, there will be a ‘newer’ washer/dryer that I’m told will get my clothes cleaner and drying time will be dramatically reduced. The proof will be in the pudding. If you see me about town in less than bright whites or stains on my pants, please don’t judge me. It’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?
Last week I had the privilege and honor to lead a Bible study at my church. The topic? Joy. Or should I say, making the choice to be joyful. The study was based on John 10:10, which reads:
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJV)
I spoke about the choice we have each day to be joyful or pitiful. To be a victor or a victim. When we choose joy, we win. When we don’t, we lose. Pretty simple.
You say, “How can I be joyful when I have so much bad stuff going on in my life?” My response is – make a decision to find joy. Happiness is a decision. Joy is a decision. It requires action. It doesn’t fall out of the sky and land on you like pixie dust. It doesn’t occur when you lose ten pounds, or pay off your mortgage, or some other external circumstance. This joy is fleeting.
We all have at least one thing to be grateful for every day. The fact that you’re reading this blog right now means you are alive. God has a purpose for you today or you wouldn’t be here (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV). If you are healthy, if your bills are paid, if there’s food in the fridge, if your washer/dryer works, and you have clothes that you can wash and dry, you have a reason to be grateful.
“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, Jen.” Most people have those things so why should I be grateful for them? Well, actually, most people don’t have these things. We’ve just come out of a global pandemic. Many didn’t make it. Many lost their jobs. Many lost their homes. So yeah, we’ve all got a lot to be grateful for.
Still struggling to find your joy? Then look up. Divert your focus away from yourself and your circumstances and look up to heaven. Guess who’s there? God. His Son Jesus is sitting right next to Him and He gave up His life so you could one day have a seat next to both of them.
We live in a broken world. It was broken the day Adam and Eve decided to sever their relationship with God and do things their way. We’re all paying the price for that decision. But we don’t have to let their decision steal our joy. We don’t have to park in the past and live in regret. We don’t have to worry about the future and stress about what will be.
Being joyful is a decision. I will be joyful next week when doing my laundry does not involve a road trip. I will rejoice when my ceiling has holes in it because I know my kids and I will be safe. When we choose joy over sadness, worry or frustration, even laundry day can be a joyful day.
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV)