As I type this, I am currently sipping on a cup of piping hot coffee (hazelnut, just in case you were wondering), snuggled up on my bed, with the sun setting outside. It’s been a spectacular autumn day, with a nice crisp morning; I was up fairly early for a weekend and found it so nice to be up and awake when the rest of the world (or at least my college campus) seemed to still be warm and snugly tucked into their beds. As I walked outside this morning, enjoying my view of mountains drenched in morning sunlight, I was taken aback by all of the beauty that God has placed around me. My heart rejoiced, and thanked Him for creating a world filled with splendor and majesty.
Rejoicing is a topic that’s been on my heart a lot recently. The very definition of the word is quite beautiful. Rejoice means to feel joy or great delight in something or someone. Ah, doesn’t that just make you smile? As I have mentioned, some circumstances in my life have been trying, but I honestly believe that just because a person experiences difficulties or hardships, shouldn’t stop them from living in such a way as to display God’s joy in their life. I feel like I can speak from both sides of the spectrum because in my life, I have experienced extreme moments of sheer delight and happiness in my life, but I’ve also experienced moments when pain literally took all of my strength away, and I felt like throwing up my hands up and quitting. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers on how to life a cheerful or joyful life, but I have a few thoughts that I would love to share with you, my beloved reader.
There are so many things that I find joy or great delight in. Honestly, one of the ways that I can rejoice even when circumstances aren’t always ideal is by looking at those things in my life that God has blessed me with and praising Him for those things.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” –James 1:17
I’ve heard that verse since I was a little girl, and perhaps that verse has become stagnant for you. Please read it again carefully and notice the very first word of the verse, every. This verse does NOT say that some good gifts are from God, but rather that every good gift is from God. Wow, that is incredible! The fact that God would give me good gifts is mind-blowing. Not only did He provide salvation for me (which is more than enough reason for my heart to praise his name for all eternity), He also loves delighting me, just for the sheer sake of bringing joy to my heart. That verse literally means that every good, perfect (and Godly) thing in your life is from God. One of my favorite passages about my God giving us gifts is found in Matthew 7:9-11.
“Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
I am blessed with an incredible earthly Father. He is honestly one of the most extraordinary people I know, and we have a phenomenal relationship. I am so thankful that God has given me a Daddy that truly represents His character. As much as he does for me, and gives me, and seeks my good, I honestly can’t even begin to imagine the kind of love that my Heavenly Father has for me when he says that He will give me good gifts. Now, this verse does not mean that God is a heavenly santa clause or anything like that, because He is Holy, and His ways are perfect, but I believe that it does mean that He will give us gifts. The very nature of a gift is something that is initiated by the giver, and our God initiates and gives His beloved children gifts.
I find joy everywhere! I praise God that He’s opened up my eyes to the incredible treasures all around me. This might sound silly to some of you, but I have a list entitled, “Things that bring a smile to my face.” I made the list simply to remind myself of the things that I absolutely adore about life and what an awesome God I serve who gives them to me. Here are just a few of the things on my list (it’s a rather long list, so I won’t write down the entire thing!)
~ The moon
~ The stars
~ The sound of rain
~ Meeting new people
~ Laughing until my sides hurt
~ Receiving a genuine complement
~ Traveling to new places
~ Summer nights
~ The Psalms
~ Getting up early and spending time with my Savior when absolutely no one else is around
~ Curling up in front of a fire reading.
~ Deep conversations
~ Getting dressed up
~ Black and white artwork
Beloved, I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes and think about the simple things that delight you, write them down and place your list somewhere you’ll see if often. Praise God for the items written down on your list. Rejoice today and be glad, for you have a Heavenly Father who loves you, cherishes you and delights to see your gorgeous smile. Live a life characterized and filled with incredible joy and exuberance.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive.” –Eleanora Duse