She’s here, my friends! The one and only Dr. Nancy Grisham is in the “house”! My face is smiling so BIG right now! Take a moment or two and read this awesome post on focusing on the JOY of God! Take it away, Nancy!
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11 NASB
Almost every year Mary, one of my closest friends, and I take a weekend road trip to Door County, Wisconsin, the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” It’s a great place to hike, ride bikes, watch sunsets, and eat some serious cherry pie.
On one trip we were driving down a country road and saw a small sign with the words “The Clearing.” Curious, we turned into the narrow drive that was lined with trees and overgrown prairie grasses. We parked and joined the guided tour of the nature preserve that was designed by renowned landscape architect Jens Jenson.
I kept looking for the “clearing”.
Then our guide said, “A lot of people come here expecting to find a large clearing in the woods. However, that wasn’t the clearing Jens envisioned. He wanted a place where people could come away and clear their heads from the stress of modern life and reconnect with nature.” I suddenly realized that I had fallen into the same mindset. Sometimes we can’t see the clearing through the trees.
Our little band of adventurers left the fire pit and followed the guide through the forest, toward the shoreline of Green Bay. The path was craggy, with gnarly roots and tree trunks that made for slow navigation. I was beginning to feel really irritated that the path was so unkempt and slow. Surely they could have removed some of the bigger roots and trunks! Almost simultaneously the guide turned around and said, “One of the things that Jens specifically designed was that the pathways be rough, with turns and roots to force people to slow down and experience nature.” What a surprise to realize that I was in lockstep with the hurry-up mentality. I needed to slow down.
This summer maybe you could use a clearing to help you slow down, relax, and become present to the presence of God in your life. He’s right here – wherever you are right now!
His presence is where PURE JOY waits for you – because He is your JOY PLACE! Here are a few practical things that can help us to clear our heads and refocus attention on the Joy Giver.
1. Widen the margins in your schedule. Don’t let Him be squeezed out of your day. Cushion your time between activities and take the hurry out your schedule.
2. Use the power of your pause button. Wait before you make a commitment or respond. Listen for His whisper and lean into His discernment.
3. Stop staring at your inadequacies, mistakes, and failures. Start looking at His greatness – including Him in and through you.
“Greater is He who is in you….” I Jn 4:4
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13
“…we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Rom 8:37
4. Avoid the tyranny of the dreaded “shoulds” and “oughts”. Ask Him to help you hear His desires and pleasures – then happily follow Him.
5. Run to your Joy Place! Sit a spell with God. Get your Bible, read a passage of scripture, and just ENJOY reading it. Talk with Him about what He’s saying. Ask Him to make His joy, your joy.
Relax – knowing YOU are loved by the Joy Giver!
Excerpts of this article were taken from the book Thriving: Trusting God for Life to the Fullest, ©Nancy Grisham 2013. Click here to learn more about this wonderful book: http://www.amazon.com/Thriving-Trusting-God-Life-Fullest/dp/080101543X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369665116&sr=8-1&keywords=thriving+nancy
Those are some awesome insights, Nancy! Thanks for such encouragement in our pursuit of PURE JOY this summer! For more on Nancy, please visit Livin’ Ignited at: http://www.livinignited.org/Livin_Ignited/Home.html.
Up Monday: You’ve got “back up” – and it’s bigger than you think!
Peace, love, and JOY!