On April 9, Mindy Caron taught the lesson on “Joyfulness” since I was gone a ministry trip with my dad. Here’s my sister’s (Deborah) recap of meeting.
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We were so blessed to have our friend Mindy Caron teach the lesson on Joyfulness. Mindy originally started the Bemidji Bright Lights group a number of years ago, and she is such a radiant example of joy!
Joyfulness…what is the opposite? Self-pity is the opposite of joyfulness. Why is joyfulness important? Well, we are representing Jesus, who is the Source of joy. The world cannot give joy; only Jesus can.
Meet Joy. Joy loves to read her Bible. She sings a lot, too—there’s a song in her heart. Joy often has a smile on her face as well.
Now meet Selfie. Selfie is much different than Joy. She has no smile, sings no song. Her attitude is negative much of the time.
What makes the difference between these two?
Joy focuses on God. She compares herself with Him—her goal is to be like Him. She’s not focusing on the circumstances around her. Joy realizes that God has a purpose for everything that He allows to happen each day of her life. She trusts Him. Since she is not focusing on herself but rather on the Source of joy, she has joy that only God gives. He is the One who puts joy in her heart!
Selfie, on the other hand, is focused on herself. She is constantly comparing herself with others and wears a polka-dot dress because she wants to be like everyone else. Selfie focuses on the circumstances around her instead of deciding to trust God’s plan for the circumstances. Selfie has no joy because she is not focused on the Source of joy.
Sometimes things happen in life and it seems we only want to be angry, bitter, or irritated. But joy does not depend on life’s circumstances. Our girl Joy chooses to trust God’s plan and remembers there is a bigger picture. One day Joy’s little brother took her bike out and accidentally crashed it. He came and apologized to her. Joy was tempted to be angry, but she remembered that God is in control of her circumstances and realized that God was using this to grow her character. “I forgive you, buddy,” she said. “It’s just a bike.” Joy could have let self-pity creep in and rule her actions. She could have said, “I deserve to be upset—he wrecked my bike and now I can’t ride it.” But instead she realized God allowed this for a reason, and she was able to respond in an appropriate way. Joy felt a flood of joyfulness come over her. Since she chose to focus on the Source of joy, she experienced the joy He gives.
Don’t be filled with self-pity; instead, be grateful. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” If you start to fall into the trap of self-pity, stop and give thanks for the blessings you have been given. It is amazing what an attitude of gratefulness can do!
Whenever you don’t feel joyful—say you are asked to do a job you dislike—choose to rejoice (“I get to help my mom!” “I have an able body to do this!” “I’m learning character!”). Or when something happens that you really don’t like—for instance, when Joy’s brother crashed her bike—remember God’s words in James 1:2-3: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Notice we are not told to rejoice just when our circumstances look good. In the Lord, we always have much to rejoice about! Remember, Selfie looked at her circumstances and compared herself with others, and as a result she had no joy, while Joy focused on God and made it her aim to be like Him, and He filled her heart with joy. You may not feel joyful in the moment, but keep your focus on God and keep rejoicing in Him, and your feelings will catch up.
One of the “Joy-Givers” Mindy listed was gratefulness. Yes, giving thanks can really give you a joy boost! The activity we did was what I’ll call a “Grateful Race.” We divided the the girls into two teams and the girl at the front of each team line had to run to the board and write something she was grateful for. We made it more interesting by changing the letter of the alphabet they were supposed to use to start each word (for example, use the letter A—apples, air). They only had two or three minutes, and whoever had the longest list at the end won. It was a great way to get them to think fast about things they were thankful for!
As a follow-up to that principle, my sister and I made little thankfulness notebooks to give to the girls where they can write things they are thankful for…to get a little boost of joy!