Tuesday is yoga day for me. Every week I look forward to my class. I just. Can’t. Wait. For it. It has become another tool for me to listen. It helps me pay attention to God, to my body, and to the world. Plus, the meditation at the end of class is almost like a bonus nap. It feels great!
At the beginning of each class our instructor encourages us to set an intention for the class and thus, for the day. I usually focus on peace or gratitude or health, etc. Yesterday, as I was trying to decide on an intention, the word “joy” bubbled up from within me. At first I thought, “That’s a great word, but I’m not feeling especially joyful today.” It wasn’t that I was feeling sad or anything. I was feeling happy. I just wasn’t feeling joyful. When I think of joy I think JOY. You know, bursting forth and singing from the hills and fireworks and confetti. I wasn’t feeling any of that.
Then I remembered my husband’s sermon this past Sunday on Philippians 4 (thus proving I really do pay attention to what he has to say). In Philippians 4:4 Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord, always! Again I say, rejoice!” At the time, Paul was sitting in prison. I don’t know about you, but for me, prison doesn’t bring to mind the word joy. But Paul explains that he is able to talk about joy because “The Lord is near.” In happiness and in pain, in bright light as in darkness, God is with us. And so we can be joyful. Even when we’re in prison. Or even if we’re not necessarily bursting forth with JOY.
So I set my intention on joy for the day. Did it make a difference? Absolutely. I began to recognize God’s presence everywhere. I saw God in the phone call from a friend. I saw God as I cleaned the kitchen. I saw God in my son who was overcommitted and tired from the day but still working to smile and be social at dinner. I even saw God in the news of a church member’s illness, knowing that God would be with her no matter what. And I felt joy. It was a joy that was deep, deriving from the knowledge of God’s abiding presence. No fireworks and confetti, but something even more wonderful. JOY.
The devotion below is a listening meditation. You will be seeing more of these types of prayer bead devotions because they give us a chance to quiet our minds and listen to God. Rather than saying something different with each bead, you will repeat the same phrase with every bead. In this case, the meditation is designed to help you consider the times and places where you see God’s presence and offer thanks.
My prayer for you is that you will feel joy no matter where you are and what you are going through. I pray that joy comes from the knowledge that God is always with you, offering God’s abundant and perfect love at every turn.
With each bead: God is with me. Thanks be to God.
Care to comment? What would be different for you if you chose to focus on joy for the day?