My Rashionale: Capturing, keeping our joy starts with our daily priorities

My Rashionale: Capturing, keeping our joy starts with our daily priorities

For all of you who took the challenge of the February fast from cable news networks, grab your remotes and start clicking. You are free to go back to your favorite shows.

Thank you for taking the opportunity to focus on this type of mental and emotional break. I heard from several people during the month and everyone agreed it was a positive move.

Only one reader reached out with a question to clarify my intentions. She was concerned I might be making a political statement with the suggestion of the fast. But after I explained my reasoning was to disconnect from the aggressiveness and intensity of the shows on cable networks, she agreed it would be good for our spirits and minds to have the break.

I do hope you found some serenity during the fast and will choose to put limits on how much of the cable news programming you absorb each day.

The less angry or agitated we are, the more we can focus on loving like Christ and showing Christ’s love.

Love is deemed “the greatest” of the big three — faith, hope and love — mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Love also is the first item listed in the fruit of the Spirit line up in Galatians 5:22 — “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”

Now that we’ve checked love off the list and are headed into March, how about we focus a bit on another fruit? Joy looks good to me.

I had the opportunity to chat with author, speaker and Bible teacher Richard Blackaby in mid-February. He encouraged me so much in the few minutes we chatted, that I quickly found his leadership podcast online to hear more from him.

The first podcast I selected focused on joy.

“No one can take your joy from you but you can surrender it,” Blackaby explained. 

“Ultimately you’ve got to decide — am I going to surrender my joy because of what this person did? … God can give you joy even in the midst of pain. … You choose where you are going to focus.

“Get your eyes on God and His goodness to you,” he said. “Guard yourself. It’s not fair (for) everyone around those who lost their joy to pay the price for it.”

Blackaby also shared tips for how to maintain joy such as getting enough sleep. Ouch. I needed to be reminded of that.

“It’s hard to have joy if you are tired. Get some of the negative news out of your head and go to sleep.”

Did you catch that? Blackaby also mentioned tempering the amount of negative news we allow into our minds each day, especially at the end of the day.

Another tip: Surround yourself with positive, joyful people and create margin in your life.

“You’ve got to guard your own joy,” Blackaby said. “That comes out of an abiding relationship with Christ. Commune with the Lord and enter into His presence every day.”