Monday, February 9, 2015

Embrace the Joy

Ernie, the three-legged dog who loved to run around me in circles!

I have many fond memories of my little dog, Ernie. One of my favorites was the way he would show his excitement and joie de vivre. (Yes, a dog can show joie de vivre, probably better than a human can, certainly more often!) 

I'm sure Ernie's enthusiasm wasn't extraordinary in the way of dogs, and many dog owners have seen their dogs do this very thing; Ernie would run around me, a tight little circle about 20-30 feet across, as fast as he could go.  When he was done, he would sink down on his front paws, ready to leap either way, hoping to entice me to play with him. 

It made me so happy to see him enjoying himself like that! It always made me smile. Sometimes it made me laugh. It meant even more because Ernie was a three-legged dog.  In reality, this meant he could only circle in one direction.  If he tried to go the other way, he'd fall over, but he seemed completely oblivious to that fact.  He was just happy he could be outside, he could run, and he could be with me.

I know God wants to see us enjoying life with Him in much the same way that I enjoyed watching Ernie.  He wants to see us - his creation - fully enjoying life, time with Him, and running our hearts out. By running our hearts out, I don't mean that we should be busy all the time.  I mean that we should embrace the joy of being fully alive in Him and expressing that joy in being all that God has created us to be.  

This morning, I listened to several oldies but goodies that I grew up with - Christian rock songs from the eighties.  I couldn't help myself - I had to dance! As I enjoyed the music, I thought about Ernie and how God probably enjoyed watching me express my joy, much the same way I enjoyed watching Ernie run around me.

I guess that in some ways, I'm like Ernie.  I have limitations, weaknesses, pains, and yes, even some scars.  But I have found that there is joy in the day if I will only look for it. 

I may not dance every morning, but today, I was reminded that the joy of the Lord truly is my strength. 

I don't want any more gray days. I want days filled with color and joy! I need to look for, and embrace, the Lord's joy every morning.  In so doing, I will make the heart of God glad, and I will be ready for whatever the day may bring.

 "This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10b NLT)

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