A joyful missionary disciple is a hopeful evangelizer reflecting the love of Jesus Christ. As I see joy, I see it as a helium balloon. Something that can elevate because it is rooted in scripture, and prayer, and relationships.
Pope Francis is quoted and Unleashed the Gospel as saying, “an evangelizer should not look like someone who just came from a funeral, should not be negative and impatient, but reflect an inner joy.” And I agree with Pope Francis.
Joy is different than happiness. Happiness sometimes comes about because of external things that we encounter. Joy is more within.
Joy’s important to me because it makes me focus on the little things every day. So for example this morning I dropped off my grand-nephew to preschool and he was so excited to get into the room to see the butterflies. Watching his expression and watching the butterflies was just something little that filled me with joy.
A daily practice for me that helps me to promote joy in my life is prayer. But I really enjoy praying through movement and so I have a phrase “Lift your gaze and dance your praise.” And that allows my spirit to be very uplifted. We’ve often heard that to sing is to pray twice. Well, I believe to dance is to pray thrice.
God’s providence embraces us in the good times and the hard times and the bad times. There is pain in our lives and in order to walk through suffering in a joyful way that’s very deep, it’s important to remember that Jesus walks with me in my pain. Jesus walks with you in your pain and suffering.
My strategy for staying joyful involves a couple points. One: I count my blessings. Two: I give thanks not just to our provident God, but also to those around me that I am very grateful for. And three: I stay positive.
So the saying glass half empty, glass half full is a true reality. We have a choice to look at things in a positive or a negative way. We are able as individuals to look at the positive side of things and that helps me be joyful along with being mindful of everyday blessings and offer that back to our loving, provident God.