3 Critical Steps to Gain True Joy
As we begin a new year full of new possibilities, we traditionally make a list of resolutions that we want to accomplish during the new year. It's like having a clean slate with endless opportunities for pursuing our real passions, dreams and hopes. With a gleam in our eyes, we embrace the courage to live more from our hearts and less from our 'to do list'. As you go through this process I'd like to encourage you to consider the 3 steps below. I strongly believe them to be the foundation for true joy and fulfillment for ALL of us throughout the new year.
1. Spend Some Time With The Bible Every Day
God's Word is our guide to understanding our Creator. His Word helps us to understand the big questions of life. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is my purpose?
One of the obstacles to this is trying to decide WHERE in the Bible to START reading. There are no specific guidelines that have to be followed. When we open the Bible with an open heart and mind, we gain rich understanding and knowledge. However, I have found The Daily Bible in Chronological Order by F. LaGard Smith to be a helpful publication to use. LaGard Smith has placed the books of the Bible in chronological order, added some beneficial commentary, and used an easy to read paragraph style of print. We give many of these away to patients and clients at WellSprings Dermatology and The SkinCare Corner every year. If you would like one of these Daily Bibles, you can find them online or you can stop by and we will be happy to share one with you.
2. Daily Scripture To Focus On
In the busyness of our days, we can become so distracted from what is truly important. Inconveniences, disappointments and just the frustration that comes with day to day tasks can quickly rob us of our joy. I have found that a simple reminder from God's Word can get me back on track to regaining the true joy that starts and ends with HIM.
At the end of 2007, I was told a wonderful story about a young man, Johnny the Bagger. Johnny, a Down Syndrome individual, made a personal decision to do SOMETHING after hearing an inspiring speech on 'making a difference in other people's lives'. Johnny was a 19 year old grocery store 'bagger'. To make a long story short... Johnny ended up writing down a quote or making up a thought of his own every single night. With the help of his father and his computer he made several copies each night, cut them, and signed the back of each one. The next day he would drop one in each customer's bag. It wasn't long before the manager noticed the extremely long waiting line where Johnny was bagging. After calling for more cashiers and trying to get some of the customers to move, people responded that they didn't mind waiting. They wanted to get Johnny's thought for the day. Johnny was making a difference!
I think this story resonated with me even more because my grandparents owned a grocery store here for years called Biggs Supermarket. I have such fond memories of working there, stocking shelves, helping in the deli and checking out customers. Having someone at my checkout to help bag groceries was a wonderful blessing and my grandfather insisted the person bagging also carry the groceries to the car for any customer needing assistance.
This story led me to focus on something encouraging that I could do in my office. In January of 2008, we began finding a scripture and a quote for every week, printing them on card stock and giving one to every patient or client that entered our doors that week. This has been a blessing beyond words to all of us and to others, I know. The feedback and stories we have received have been so touching and impactful. It is confirmation that we all need to be continually reminded, inspired, and motivated to live as God intended.
So, a few months ago, we compiled all of those quotes and scriptures from 2008 on and made them into a daily flip booklet, formatted to feature a quote and scripture each day of the year. It retails for $12.50 in The SkinCare Corner and is a great way for you and your loved ones to have a daily scripture focus. My prayer is that it will help us daily to honor our Creator with our thoughts and actions.
3. Spend Time in Prayer Every Day
The Lord tells us in Psalms 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." We must take time to quiet our body, mind and soul: time to talk to our God and pour out our concerns and burdens to Him and then trust Him with the answers. Trust Him to guide our thoughts and decisions. Trust Him to answer our prayers to fulfill His ultimate purpose and to glorify Him. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16 We start every morning with prayer at WellSprings. We lift up prayer requests on behalf of our staff, our families, our patients and anyone else who reaches out to us asking for prayers. If you would like us to pray for you, please contact us and we will be partners in prayer with you, too.