I am fairly young, but even I can look back over my life and see that I have wasted time. It seems that I have always lived my life looking forward to the next big thing. When I was a teenager, I counted the days until high school graduation. In my early twenties I longed to graduate college and get married. After I married my fabulous husband (10 years ago!), my heart's desire was to have a baby (that one took a while). Of course, along with all of my other hopes and dreams I wanted to have a big, world-changing ministry. Unfortunately, when I attained these goals, the satisfaction and happiness were not permanent.
The key is that I was never living in the moment. I didn't own my life; I was leasing that space hoping for something better. You know, the grass is always greener. I never allowed myself to be completely happy. Don't get me wrong. There were weeks even months when I was "walkin' on sunshine," but for the most part, I was always looking to the future for my happiness.
I have to tell you that I seriously doubt that is how God intended it to be. I'm not saying that every day is going to be a walk in the park. We are going to have those rough days, weeks, months, maybe even years. Shouldn't we take whatever we are given and live in that moment in time? The Bible tells us in Psalm 30:5, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."
Now, please note, the scripture says joy, not happiness. The thing about happiness is that it is fleeting. That is why we tend to spend the majority of our time looking to the future if we are seeking happiness. I would encourage you to seek joy rather than happiness. You see, you can have joy even in the dark times of your life. My favorite "joy" scripture is found in John 15:9-12 where Jesus tells us:
”As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”Did you catch that? It was the secret to joy. Did you miss it? Let me help you. First, Jesus tells us to abide in (that means dwell, live, inhabit) His love. Then He goes on to say that if we will keep His commands, we will dwell in His love. He continues by saying he told us all this so we can be full of His joy (not running on empty, not half full, but completely full). Then He tells us what this commandment is we are supposed to follow - love one another. Did I lose you?
Here is the secret to being full of joy all the time - even when things seem dark and difficult - love others with the love of Christ. That's right, and it works every time. Why? Because you get the focus off yourself and onto God. That is when He can really work. If you are living in Him, you will not have to look for the next big thing to make you happy. Instead, you will have everlasting joy.
So, to recap, loving others translates to living in His love, which brings us lots and lots of joy. Now, it's completely up to you, but if I were you, I would now get up from my computer and go love someone, so you can get some joy!
Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!