Is joy so hard, really? Is it possible have peace and joy in the moment, like floating still in the eye of a hurricane where threatening wind and waves surround?
Yeah, it’s possible. Maybe not easy. But possible.
Barring some major chemical imbalance where body overrides will, peace and joy can be cultivated right where we are, in this moment. There’s always something to be joy-full about.
Even when everything seems to be going wrong, there’s always something right.
Not being a sanguine personality like my favorite Bible teacher, Beth Moore, I’ve had to work hard at this thing called joy. And I haven’t had to work hard at creatingjoy. I’ve had to work hard at recognizing what already exists and shifting my focus.
This morning, just as the sun began to rise, I sauntered about on garden path in my bathrobe for the first time this spring. I focused on beauty. And I felt joy—full joy. Orchestral bird songs sung in perfect harmonies. Sun rising soft over barn. Horses silhouetted. Daffodils blooming bright. Geraniums waiting to be tucked into earth. Yellow lab sniffing new spring smells. And my camera on manual.
I’m learning how to use a sophisticated camera. I’m finding that my best shots are in the manual mode where I can adjust lighting and focus myself. And I think about God and photography and subject and focus.
One of the great wonders of God is His gift of free will. Never a dictator, He set the stage of life with principles for proper functioning—for abundant life—living life to the full. When we follow Him, life flows—regardless of circumstances. When we waiver and fear and fret, life clogs and chokes.
The living can walk around dead for a lifetime when subject and focus are off.
So how do we have and hold this thing called joy? We have and hold with eyes sharply focused on good and then giving thanks. There’s always good to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to smell—because God is good. And He loves us so much that, though we can be horribly blind to our next step on life’s oft scary path, He will take us by the hand and lead us along in peace—if we’ll let Him. We can rest in God when we shift our focus to Him, leave the blur behind, and give Him thanks.
Camera to eye, I choose my subject—by free will, I choose—and I stay. I shift the lens ring slightly left until no blur remains and I click, giving thanks. Can I walk through this day, these moments of not knowing, and keep the eye of my soul so finely focused that all else becomes blur? Can I notice the beautiful—the good—and give thanks?
This day—come what may—I choose to focus on God, my Maker, in whom I will trust. Come what may, I’m in His hands. And so are all I love. Come what may. And though flesh may hurt, spirit can still feel joy—even in the dark—even in the storms. Because when one is at peace, one feels joy.
Shall we focus our spiritual lens on Him, this day?
Notice. Focus. Give thanks.