“Every birthday is a gift. Every day is a gift.” —Aretha Franklin (1942-2018), the Queen of Soul, singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist.At the beginning of this month (May), I wrote a blog post titled, “A Month Long Celebration.” Well, it is now the last day of May so the month is now ending. Today is my birthday but as birthdays go, this one has been rather subdued. I had absolutely nothing planned for today, and since I’ve been dieting since the end of April (and I’ve lost 13 lbs so far), I’m not blowing my diet on ice cream and cake.
While a birthday is a special day every year, the truth is that every day is a gift. As anyone reading my blog posts knows, I write from a Christian perspective because I’ve been a Christian since I was a young girl. As our society has become more and more secular over the decades that I have been alive, I’ve found myself wondering at times what a person who does not have any specific spiritual beliefs does when really tough times come into their lives (and tough times comes into everyone’s life at some point). I have also been surprised, especially in the past decade, how Christianity even in America today is often mocked and even visibly so by others, and that number is growing at what seems to be a fast rate.
Yesterday I published a blog post on my regular blog titled, “The Ultimate Comeback,“ and it deals with the issue of “nominal Christianity” since there is a lot of it in America today. And it is the folks in the “nominal” category that are often shifting to what is now being called the “Nones” group who claim no particular spiritual beliefs at all (see the March 21, 2019 article titled, “‘Nones’ now as big as evangelicals, Catholics in the U.S.,” published in Religion News Service).
Folks with little or no spiritual beliefs will most likely find the rest of this blog post irrelevant, but for those of us who truly believe, I would like to share an article titled, “You Can Enjoy Your Life–Everyday,” by Joyce Meyer, Christian author, Bible teacher, speaker, and President of Joyce Meyer Ministries. Here is what she wrote:
Are you enjoying the journey of your life?
The truth is, God wants you to enjoy your life every day. Did you know that? If you didn’t, or maybe you just aren’t sure whether God approves of people enjoying their lives, take a look at John 10:10. It says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”
This is an absolutely amazing scripture because it clearly tells us that God doesn’t just want us to be alive, but He wants us to enjoy being alive. He wants us to live with joy – abundant, overflowing joy!
Learning to Live the Life
My passion as a teacher of God’s Word is to help people learn how to live the life Jesus died to give us. That’s why we’ve titled our program “Enjoying Everyday Life.” And I’ve learned through my own experience that if you don’t have joy, then no matter what you have or what you do or how great your circumstances may be…it doesn’t mean much.
So how do we get the joy of the Lord? Jesus tells us in John 15 that if we will abide in Him, we will experience God’s will for our lives, and everything Jesus has will be ours. Abiding means making Jesus the most important person in your life, living and remaining in Him, and making everything in life revolve around Him. That’s when we bear the fruit of a godly life. And that’s when God’s true joy is released in us.
It’s easy to see that focusing on Jesus has so many benefits. For one, when we’re paying attention to Him, we won’t be focused on the problems in the world; and we’ll be able to live with God’s peace and joy. Another benefit of living this way is that it keeps us from being continually stressed-out, living in survival mode and just getting through the day.
Don’t Wait on “When…”
So many people have the mindset that they will be really happy and enjoy life when…when they go on vacation, when the kids are older, when they get higher on the ladder of success at work, when they get married…the list could go on and on. I can relate to this because there was a time when even though I really loved being in the ministry, I wasn’t enjoying the daily responsibilities and activities it involved. I had to learn to live in the moment and enjoy what God was doing in me and through me now, not when the conference was over or when I could go on vacation.
I really want you to get this: God wants you to enjoy your life now, not when.
I’m so thankful that we have the Holy Spirit, who lives in every believer in Jesus Christ. He is the Helper who gives us supernatural strength and anointing to live this ordinary, day-to-day life with the supernatural joy of the Lord. Nehemiah 8:10 says the joy of the Lord is our strength. And we need that strength every day.
It’s important to understand what joy is. It’s not about entertaining yourself all the time, getting your way all the time or laughing all the time. Joy can be extreme hilarity or calm delight and everything in between! I’m a more serious person by nature, so the “calm delight” definition is usually my state of joy. But a good belly laugh is sometimes just what you need.
Good Medicine for Your Heart
The Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 that “a happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing….” Interestingly, there have been studies done that show laughter has some exciting benefits:
Laughter causes the release of endorphins, a chemical in the body that relieves pain and creates a sense of well-being.
It can raise your energy level, relieve tension and change your attitude.
It increases antibodies and strengthens your immune system.
A good belly laugh causes you to inhale more oxygen and stimulates your heart and blood circulation. It’s like internal aerobic exercise!
No wonder the devil wants to steal our joy and get us discouraged, depressed and downtrodden. Remember that the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. But we don’t have to give in to him and lose our joy.
Make a decision today to enjoy your life. If you’re too serious about everything, lighten up! Learn to laugh at yourself and the things that normally frustrate you. Remember that God loves you always. He knows everything about you and loves you anyway. We all have things about us and in our lives that need to change, but they will really only change when we’re abiding in Christ, living with the joy of the Lord.
As you go about your day today, make this your goal: Rejoice in the Lord! As the joy of the Lord gives you strength, you’ll be able to face any problems you have to deal with, and you’ll enjoy your life while you’re doing it! (Quote source here.)
And that is what I want to share with you on my birthday today for your every day! I’ll end this post with Psalm 37:3-4—Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord…
And He will give you . . .
The desires . . .
Of your heart . . . .
YouTube Video: “Rock Steady” by Aretha Franklin: