Happy New Year and a warm welcome to 2018!
Each new year brings with it a brand new January, too. I usually dread this time of year, because everyone is super miserable. Whether its because we’ve all bankrupted ourselves over Christmas, or we’re back to work, or because the weather is generally just super pants, January is often joyless – a Joyless January, if you will.
I’ve decided to set myself a challenge this year – a little like when I gave up make-up for Lent a few years ago, or was determined to see where God fits in all of our romantic circumstances – and that is to make January joyful. Joyful January. During a meeting at work last year (it was actually a couple of weeks ago, back in 2017, but that sounds more dramatic), I overheard someone say that they went through the Bible with a fine-toothed comb to see what God was trying to say to them on a particular topic through Scripture, and I felt inspired to try and do the same with God’s joy.
I’m pretty rubbish at being joyful, and I think this is because for the best part of my life emotions seem to have determined whether something was good, or bad – be it an experience or a person or even a food I may or may not want to eat. As I’m now the ripe old age of 23, I’ve decided that rather than continuing with a joyless January (or joyless however long after that), I want to try and find God’s true joy in the everyday.
To do this, I used my fine-toothed comb called Google to grab myself 31 Bible verses, one for each day in January, to meditate on each day and reflect on. (I’m fully aware that the Bible has more than 31 verses about joy in it, by the way – that theology degree wasn’t wasted) As part of my challenge, I’ve got myself a notebook and a study guide for reference and context of the Scripture I’m looking at each day, and have decided to list a few things from my day where I saw or recognised God’s joy. From the very little I’ve started with (I mean, it is only the 2nd January!) I’ve seen that joyfulness and thankfulness are rarely seen without the other right by its side – so listing these glimpses of joy as thank-yous seems to make a lot of sense.
Anyway. As part of keeping me accountable, and also as a means of sharing any wisdom (ha) that I might pick up on the way, I wanted to start a new blog series to document it all, kind of like a diary. Whether you read it all or not, like it or not, agree or not, I felt it right to make a space for discussion (and hey, you can take a literal look into the way I think about things…!)
So. The challenge (or the super vague instructions I’ve given myself)
- Use a different Bible verse to meditate on each day
- Write a list of joyful thankyous at the end of the day
- Work out what joy actually is/how it works
- Share anything remotely interesting on here, and we’ll see who reads it
Here we go…
Peace and blessings x
Joyful January 1st: Day 1
“rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Joyfulness is not a temporary feeling or thought. Is it meant to be like breathing?
- Is Joyfulness even a feeling?
- Joyfulness is part of God’s will for us as Christians, which doesn’t seem like it should be temporary, but rather something that shapes us
- Joyfulness is good friends with prayer and thankfulness
- We need to be joyful in all circumstances? (This is going to be a struggle. What happens when I run out of time to get a croissant in the morning at the station and have to eat a cereal bar instead?)
- Being joyful in all circumstances doesn’t seem to come naturally to me at all.
- When joyfulness, prayer and thankfulness all hang out, it’ll change our perspective. Maybe I’ll have more of a Jesus perspective on the world?
- 1 Thessalonians is the 1st letter from Paul written to the church in Thessalonica who seem to be having a bit of a tricky time getting on
- This verse is part of Paul’s final instructions to the church, after listing all the ways they can get along a lot better and put up with each other
- Paul seems to get the difficulty of doing life with other Christians, and assures us that the Holy Spirit will enable us to do it better, and we should let the Holy Spirit do that (the following verse instructs us not to “stifle the Holy Spirit” v. 19)
Thank You for…
- The hospitality of friends
- Finding a parking space relatively near my house on NYD
- Being in the warm while it’s raining outside (say a prayer for those who are outside)
- Reminders of God’s grace being fresh each day
- Whoever invented Pringles
Joyful January 2nd: Day Two
“rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again – rejoice!” | Philippians 4:4
- Rejoice in the Lord – rejoicing in something that is constant, infinite, just like joyfulness should also be
- Rejoicing always? Again with the always! (Really need to get over this croissant thing)
- What does it mean to rejoice, or to rejoice in the Lord? What does that look like?
- Is it an attitude rather than a feeling? It cannot be dependent on situation/emotion if it something that you do always
- Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from prison – and that must’ve been pretty joyless
- Joyfulness seems to be a perspective – and one that we can find in our relationship with God
Thank You for…
- The Crown on Netflix. I flipping love the Queen
- Life chats with little bro
- Madeira cake
- Lush bath bombs
- Catching up with old friends about exciting things
- Clean hair
- Good health