I sing in our Contemporary band at church and there are some songs I love to just wail on. I call it my 300 pound lady name “Bertha” that lives inside of me. One of the new songs we sing is by a Gospel Singer named Ron Kenoly called, “Give to the Lord”. It is such a happy, hip movin’, hand clappin’ and praisin’ the Lord song and I find myself singing it all the time now. It goes along with today’s reading that focuses on ways to achieve joy that are so easy even a busy soccer mom of two with a full-time job and full-time family obligations can do them. Miller says there are many more ways to give to others than to focus on money or time.
The first thing is Encouragement. How many times have we been so down and a simple, “Hey, things are rough right now but you are doing an excellent job handling all of it” meant a huge difference. I know I can think of times when a bit of encouragement went a long way. I know I try hard to remind my friends of how great they are even if it with a simple hug. (Yeah, I’m a big hugger.)
The second is “an extra pair of hands“. Recently I had a friend who needed me to help her with her kids for a night. We didn’t get any sleep, and suffered for it the next day, but I felt blessed by getting to wake a beautiful baby boy up and remember what it was like to truly be needed by another person. (The fact that he was bald, dimpled and has a killer smile didn’t hurt either.) Being there for my friend blessed me so much more than she will ever know and I honestly felt honored to help. Again, I was full of joy by helping out a friend!
Miller says an easy thing to do is “offer your seat.” and goes on to tell of a time when she gave a private her first-class seat when he was returning home from Iraq. Totally cool! (I’m an 80’s girl, no judging here.) Such a small gesture can yield such amazing results. Others may have seen her display of generosity and in return done something nice for someone else. He probably told folks about the kind woman who gave him her first-class seat. His family was probably so grateful for such a kindness shown. So many lives can be impacted my such a small thing. Wow!
The final way to have joy is really the hardest for me. Forgiveness. It sounds simple but if you have ever had to truly forgive someone for something that truly hurt your heart, I can bet it was a difficult task. I was eating dinner with a dear friend when our conversation shifted to something she had said to others breaking a confidance I had in her. For years it had festered in me. It always hurt when I thought about it and at times, I shed tears at remembering the pain I felt. I told her that I knew she had betrayed my confidence and she asked me, there in a country diner, over not-so-good pot roast, if I would forgive her. She meant it. I was speechless. I had to let it go, right then and there. I had to truly mean it when I utter those words, “I forgive you.” I did. The peace that washed over me was amazing. I had no idea that I could really forgive someone and He would/could take the pain and anger away. (I am a little dence at times.) Our relationship has been restored and is better than ever. People, forgive one another. It is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
MIller goes on to say that this just might look like you are being nice but, “It’s much more than that.” I completely agree. It can be life altering and people changing if we take the time to truly mean what we say and do. If we take the time to make the effort.
So far, this year is looking great. I am searching for “Uncommon Joy” by taking time to be present and aware in life and to be there in a way that I would want others to be there for me should I need it. Finding joy in giving to others in a way we would like to receive joy is easy. The greatest thing about all of this is that we are blessed for it.