That's my main focus for this year.
Rejoice makes me think about a church song we used to sing when the boys were little: "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice." The chorus goes something like "Rejoice, rejoice, and again I say rejoice". It's a fun song with a peppy beat and we used to sing it in rounds. When you sang it, the happiness bubbled up all over in you. You couldn't sing it with a sad face—that just wouldn't be right—you smiled or laughed and sang with, well . . . joy! (Overjoyed is another good word.)
Many years back I went through a huge life challenge. My mind had a blow-out with repercussions to every other part of me, and my joy vanished, along with my ability to think and respond sensibly. Fortunately, the cave in which I lived had a subtle glow from the hatch so that in time, I emerged back into the light of a busy life as a wife and homeschooling mom to my four sons. It was a rough time though, and my point is that I know first hand what the opposite of rejoice is.
I think there are many others out there that have also felt a lack of joy—it might even be epidemic, considering the times we are living in and the crazy things that happen to people and their loved ones.
Well, this year will be a special time to reclaim my joy! I want to live life fully, get excited about it, let it seep into my bones, heart and mind. I want to face everything, even negativity, heartbreak, and disappointment in the face of joy—that my attitude of rejoicing does not waver, and if it does, it can bounce its way back.
Rejoice means to: feel joyful; be delighted; to fill with joy; gladden; feel happiness or joy. It's related to: being on cloud nine; exultation; jumping for joy; walking on air; triumph, glory, and elation.
How often do You Jump for Joy?
I just finished a wonderful book . . . Bird by Bird—Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott that my son gave me at Christmas. I don't want to give away the punch line but here's a quote:
"When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship."Sounds like rejoicing to me! And there's courage in that boat too. A big part of it is that we are interconnected, sharing those happy as well as crazy moments, with each other.
Some Questions I have to Ask Myself. . .
What is my source of joy? Is it found in material things? Family? Relationships? Egotistic ideals? God?
What are my foundations? How am I programmed to view the world? What expectations do I have? What or who do I trust? What happens if that trust is broken?
What am I thankful for? How often does prayer fit into the overall scheme? What am I afraid of?
There's more . . .
What excites me? What makes me dance when no one is looking? What do I find myself doing that I can't live without? Who is on this rousing journey with me? Do I hang out with uplifting people? Who are they?
Who do I love? What makes me feel great about myself, and others? Can I visualize the person who I want to become? What does she look like, what does she say, what does she do?
These are all good questions to contemplate and ones that I'll be examining in the weeks to come.
"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18