Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is Joy On Your To-Do List?

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Just this morning I saw a commercial for a luscious piece of chocolate that made a big promise to anyone who samples its velvety smoothness: joy.

Joy from a piece of chocolate? Happiness, maybe. But joy? I don't think so.

Bonnie St. John
Joy is very different from happiness or pleasure. Happiness is more about how my overall life is going. It’s experiencing sensations that come from the outside in,” explains Bonnie St. John, author of Live Your Joy. “Joy comes from the inside out: hope, confidence, friendship, and faith. Joy, or the lack of it, permeates every aspect of your life.”

Unfortunately, she is quick to point out that some Christians believe that since joy is a gift from God, Christians must be always joyful. “Christians can put unrealistic expectations on each other, such as, If you’re not joyful there is something wrong with your relationship with God. But I’m not always happy. I have ups and downs, and I struggle.”

Everybody does! To illustrate, Bonnie likens the gift of joy to a garden. “God gives us joy, but we have to weed out our bad attitudes, our bad habits. There are personal behaviors that get in the way of God’s joy.”
According to Bonnie, the number one joy stealer for parents is being too busy. “When my daughter Darcy was little, I was so blessed that I could work from home,” she notes. “I got her ready for a half day of kindergarten, and then tried to fit in eight hours of work while she was gone. It is really stressful trying to work at home with a kid running around. By bedtime, you are so tired yourself. I was running so fast that I couldn’t enjoy it.”

Like many moms, Bonnie relies on her “to do” list. “My lists have lists,” she jokes.

In order to appreciate and locate true joy in life, Bonnie advises parents to make room for it on their own to do lists. “I live by my ‘to do’ list, so let me put on my ‘to do’ list some ‘to feel.’ I will put on the list five minutes to pray, to feel gratitude, or to sit still and feel God’s love,” she says. Bonnie believes that many parents are guilty of presenting God with a “to do” list when they pray. Instead, be diligent to enter His gates with thanksgiving! Compose your body and your mind to recognize His loving Hand and faithful providence. Think about how much He loves you. There is great joy in that.

“Problems grab you by the throat. Problems make time for themselves,” Bonnie notes. “Joy doesn’t. Joy gives up and goes away. If you don’t make time for joy, it’s gone.”

"Strong women don't give God a to-do list. They ask God for a to-do list." ~Bonnie St. John

Want more?
Read more about Bonnie St. John HERE.
Read Bonnie's famous Starbucks coffee cup quote HERE.
Visit Bonnie's official website HERE.

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