Chapter 2: Joy!
Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us.
Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (p. 29). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.
God is alive, well and working through this study. Lives are being touched in wonder filled ways!
Dear God, This world is a scary place but also a place of wonder and excitement. You have created a situation where we can make the best of it… or not. Wisdom is a gift from You. Please give us light in our dark. Please make joy accessible even in the haste of our lives. When Satan kicks in with feelings of confusion or hate… let us know your love. Let us choose joy. Amen.
I would like to study two words as we venture into Henri Nouwen’s introspective and inspiring insights.
Reactive – re·ac·tive
- showing a response to a stimulus.
- acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it.
Proactive – pro·ac·tive
(of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened
Solomon was arguably the wisest person in the Bible. His proverbs have an overview, or a macro-view time after time. As life comes at us 100 mph hours these days, we may need to slow down the tempo. Stress, during these end days, needs spelled with capitols… STRESS! We can’t always control what gets thrown at us. This may be from the world, from family or friends. We can control, with God’s help, how we react and how we move forward. We have to live, and we have to die. Other than that, the rest is how we join God in surviving… and even thriving. Joy is not a wish, joy is a gift! We must find and choose to open the package! As hard as it is, look at the macro-view and be released from the micro-view. Fasten your seatbelts, we may be in for a bumpy ride… BUT HAVE FAITH!
In reflection, keep in mind these weekly thoughts…
Is there any one idea that really reached me?
What is God revealing about Himself in this reading?
What is God revealing about me in this reading?
Where was the “bottle neck” in my past that kept me from realizing God to His fullest?
Was it a person, or maybe an event? Could it have even been me?
Upon realization, ask God for healing and an example of His perfect love.
Where am I “bottle necked” now in my relationship with God?
What can I recognize, or handle differently to increase “flow” in my Spiritual life?
These questions are meant to be like a can opener… cutting through the lid and revealing the contents!
More specifically, for this chapter:
We are inclined to think that when we are sad we cannot be glad, but in the life of a God-centered person, sorrow and joy can exist together.
Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (p. 28). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.
How does this insight resonate with you?
If you were to explain this to another, what words would you choose?
The great challenge of faith is to be surprised by joy.
Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (p. 33). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.
If you were never looking for a gift, who would know to open it?
Is joy a dream, wish or thought… or a gift to be noticed, opened and enjoyed?
‘Reader’s digest had a column titled “Laughter is the best medicine”. In funeral services, laughter and crying are closely related neighbors. Do children, or anyone for that matter, think before they laugh? Not so much! Time stands still when a person is laughing… in many ways ‘Laughter can be the best medicine! (a gift?)”
The last chapter talked about a candle in darkness. Feedback and discussion brought this contrast to life. I envisioned a candle (God’s love and mercy) during a nice day that was quickly turning to dung! My day was saved… and at night I thanked God for blessings!
What are your testimonies of God turning bad to good?
What are the differences between “thoughts and happiness”… compared to “hope and joy”?
Boxers hit the point when they are exhausted and being beaten. The are “up against the ropes”. Consider when you’ve felt “up against the ropes”.
Was God there when you called?
How does the event feel in hindsight compared to how it felt with foresight?
I look forward to the insights and perspectives as we stumble forward in this world preparing for the next!
Please feel free to share, you don’t know who or how much you help when you share your testimony!!!