Getting the Joyless You Unstuck

First, let me apologize! I am doing an on-line Bible study for A Sudden Glory, and the blog mailing list and the Bible study mailing list got married for a very brief time yesterday. So you might have received Lesson 1 Day 2 by mistake. PLEASE don’t unsubscribe on that email. It will remove you from everything. The problem has been fixed and you should not receive any more Bible study emails unless you have subscribed to that as well.

Now for Today’s Blog!

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper, he took the cup…” (Luke 22:19 emphasis added NIV).

Bring You Back-01

When we live a life of intentional gratitude, we begin to frame how we see our circumstances. I put my favorite photos in frames so I can see them often. They bring me joy as I pass through the room. A smiling five-year-old Steven with his brand-new Golden Retriever puppy. A strong man-child dressed in a graduation cap and gown. A passel of sun-kissed nieces and nephews standing on the beach with arms on shoulders, windblown hair, and laughing faces. My husband and son wading in the lake at sunset ready to be baptized together. These are pictures that say…remember.

Gratitude has been called the “memory of the heart.” Praise and gratitude bring up pictures in our minds that say, “Remember.”

Isn’t that what Jesus did in the last twelve hours of His life as He broke the bread and passed the cup? “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper, he took the cup…” (Luke 22:19). Remember. Give thanks.

Glory moments will come and go, sometimes, most times, rather quickly. We must grab hold, savor the moment in the moment, and then remember.

David invites us, “O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3 NASB). When we praise and thank God, we magnify Him–make Him easier to see. A thankful heart opens the windows of heaven that allow us to peek at glory moments all around. Glimpses. Foretastes of our heavenly home that revive our hope and make us hungry for more of Him.

Why does God want us to give thanks and punctuate all of life with gratitude? He knows that gratitude gives birth to joy. Again, it is not what God wants from us, but what God wants for us. Joy. Thanksgiving in “all things” squeezes difficult circumstances until joy oozes out of us. Fruit, if it had a say in the matter, would not like the squeezing, but it is the only way to get the sweet juice past the tough dimpled skin to the outside. Otherwise it would stay locked away until the fruit shriveled up and died.

Perhaps your relationship with God has come to the plateau of routine, passionless religion—as if your faith is stuck on the sandbar of mediocrity when it is truly meant to sail the seas of the joyful life. So what will lift your boat? What will get the joyless you “unstuck?” I suggest the language of a grateful heart will swell the tide to lift your soul from the sandbar and loosen you from the hold of the sucking muck below. Give it a try. As Jonah showed us, the way out of the belly of the whale is praise.

When I feel distant from God, gratitude and praise is often the ramp to get me back on the right road. When I have strayed from acknowledging His presence, when I have forgotten in him we live and move and have our being, when I have made me big and God small, gratitude leads me back to right relationship with Him. And then I wonder why I ever would be so careless as to drift away in the first place.

In previous devotions, I mentioned starting your own Sudden Glory journal. In that journal, you can list all that you are grateful for on any given day. After all, realizing and recognizing what God has provided are some of the most resplendent moments of sudden glory you’ll see. Then, on the gray days, when you find yourself in a grumpy mood (come on, I know it happens), pull out your Sudden Glory journal and review all the reasons you have to be thankful! I guarantee it will change your perspective and brighten your day.

Let’s Pray
Thank You, Jesus. Thank you for the many ways You have made Your presence and working know to me. Thank you for waking me up this morning. For legs that stand, feet that walk, eyes that see, a heart that beats, fingers that grasp, eye lids that blink, wrinkly skinned knees that bend, crow’s feet that show I’ve smiled at life, brown spots that prove I’ve loved the sun, calluses that show I’ve worked with my hands in delight.
Thank you, Jesus.
Amen.

What do You Think?
Read Psalm 136 and note the Psalmist’s Sudden Glory entry. Use this Psalm as a pattern and write your own entry today!

Want More? 
Seeing God through the lens of gratitude and grace is one of the themes of my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. It’s a great book to help you experience God’s presence on a daily basis. But if you have trouble with grumbling, complaining, and controlling your tongue, I’d suggest delving into my book, The Power of a Woman’s Words. You can find them both on my website at www.sharonjaynes.com.

10 Responses to Getting the Joyless You Unstuck

  1. Lucy Stacy March 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    Hi Sharon,
    I loved this particular post: photographs have always been a big deal to me and I did something similar to what you mentioned. I’ve created a “gallery” in my hallway (which up til recently was just blank walls) of all my favorite photos! Whether it’s pictures of my children through their years of growing up, special trips my husband and I have taken, etc. If it’s a favorite of mine, I’ve hung it up! It’s so fun to walk past and see these smiling faces – even mine!

  2. J L March 11, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    This was supposed to be for your March 11 Girlfriends in God devotions: Forgiving yourself. However, I couldn’t find it as this is my first time on the website. Anyways, thank you for the message. I have been struggling with my pride and now i have confessed it. It is finished!

  3. Audra Russell March 11, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    It is finished.

  4. Becky Babin March 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    It is finished

  5. Patti March 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    It is finished.

  6. Peggy Sypniewski March 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    “It is finished!”

  7. Darlene March 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    It is finished.

  8. brenda March 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    It is finished!!

  9. Bonnie March 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    The name of the Holy Spirit that means the most to me is Comforter. There have been so many times in my life when I have just cried my eyes out over what was going on in my life. And as the tears ceased, I could feel this presence over me. As the tears stopped flowing, the love and peace of the Holy Spirit began to flow over me. Even though a little bit of the pain was still there, the comfort of the Holy Spirit was stronger than the pain and I was able to move on. God loves us so much that He sent the Comforter to us!

  10. Joy Connell March 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    IN RESPONSE TO JOHN 14/16 REGARDING THE HOLY SPIRIT – It is truly amazing that in dying Christ not only took on the sins of the world but also provided us with a Counselor to stay and guide us while we are yet in the physical body.
    Personally I have a built in forgetter and need to be constantly reeled back to where God wants me. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will come and stay with us until He returns. Praise God; “The Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
    Thank you for directing us to this very important issue/passage.

    Joy Connell

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