Joyce Meyer - The Pursuit of Joy and Enjoyment
Does God want me to enjoy my life? Now, you know, this was a huge problem for me because I never got to be a child. Just because of the abuse in our home and the anger that my father had, the mean man that he was, and the fear that he provoked, I never really got to be a child. And I didn't realize this until I was an adult, and, you know, when I married Dave I just thought, "Do you have to goof around all the time? I mean, somebody around here's gotta be responsible for something". And it really wasn't that he was irresponsible, it was just that whatever he did, he was gonna enjoy it. And that's the goal that I'm after for myself and for all of you. I don't want to just enjoy payday or vacation or shopping trip. I want to enjoy it if I have to go to the grocery store. I want to enjoy it if it need to clean house. I want to enjoy it no matter what I'm doing, because life is too short to not enjoy the journey.
"How can I enjoy cleaning house? I clean it up, they mess it up. I clean it up, they mess up. I clean it up, they mess up". Let's look at it a different way, "Thank God I've got a house to clean and thank God I've got a family to mess it up," because you could live totally by yourself and nobody would ever mess up anything in your house. You could eat by yourself. You could sleep by yourself. You could never have anybody to talk to. Can I tell you something, sweet lady, who's bent on finding everything wrong with your husband that you can possibly find wrong with him? And I'm not saying there's not some real issues, but I'm just, you know, just talking here for a minute. You know, if you really don't want him, there's probably some lonely lady that would be very happy to take him off your hands. So maybe you better give him a hug and say, "You're a keeper".
And I know, I know some of you have some very difficult situations, you know, that we have to handle those in a different way. But I'm talking about just the nitpicking, nagging. "You know, you're not this and you're not that and you're not". You know, I was after Dave one time, "Well, you know you should just be more aggressive. You need to be more aggressive. You need to take more opportunities. You need", he said, "You better thank God I am the way I am, because if I wasn't, you sure wouldn't be doing what you're doing". Okay, then. Yes, I think so. You know what? We get so unhappy with what we've got but did it ever occur to you that it might be exactly what you need? How many of you are married to somebody that's just the opposite of you? God did that on purpose. Here's our problem, we marry somebody that's not like us and then we spend the rest of the marriage trying to change them.
Anyway, by the way, the Bible says that a woman is to enjoy her husband. It's actually in there. Well, don't get too nervous, I've only got about 20 minutes left. "The thief comes only to kill steal and destroy". But Jesus said, "I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, until it overflows)". What's with the overflow part? He wants us to have so much that it gets out of us on to somebody else. Women can set the tone in their whole home. You can turn everybody into a sourpuss, or you can create an atmosphere of joy. You can make the problem seem worse, or you can make it seem better. Women are very influential. Go women! Amen. You know we're all headed somewhere. We're all on a journey. I've thought about writing a book sometime just called "My journey with God" because, man, has it ever been a journey. We all have goals, we all have dreams, but very few people really enjoy the journey.
Life is not about the destination. It's really truly not about the destination, it's about how you make the journey. I mean, it really is. It's about how you make the journey. And how you make the journey is really up to you. It's about taking a proper attitude, a mental posture and a mind-set, you know our minds, the way we think are connected to everything else that we do. That's the book I'm working on right now, it's called "The mind connection," how our mind is connected to our words and to our emotions and to all of our actions and how we treat people, how we relate to ourselves, and how we relate to God. Pay more attention to what you're thinking and understand that you don't have to be a mental garbage dump for the devil to throw any wicked thing in there he wants to. You can do your own thinking. You can choose your thoughts. You don't have to get up and wait to see if you feel like it's gonna be a lousy day.
You can say, "Today I am going to enjoy my day. God has given me power and authority, and I set my mind to stay peaceful and to enjoy my day". Set your mind early. Every time guilt knocks on my door, I'm gonna tell it, "Only righteousness is at home". This is the deeper life. See, if I say to somebody, "I'm gonna teach on the deeper life," they're like, "Oh". Well, you know what? Some people have gotten so deep, they don't even know where they're at. This is not hard. The deeper life is don't be concerned about getting things that don't make that much difference but pursue righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. When you've got those things straight inside, and you've got that foundation, life gets sweet, and we can live for God and bring glory to him and actually be the kind of person that people are gonna want to be like. Do people want to be like you? "Well, I never thought of that". "Rejoice in the Lord and again I say, rejoice!" - Philippians 4:4. Paul was in prison when he wrote that, by the way. Nehemiah 8:10, "The joy of the Lord is your strength. Be not sad and depressed for the joy of the Lord is your strength".
I'm telling you what, which joy is not extreme hilarity all the time. It can be that, but the definition goes all the way from extreme hilarity to a calm delight, and I would most of the time I live in that calm delight, amen? You know, when I say, "Be joyful," that doesn't mean you gotta... You know? To be honest, sometimes those people get on my nerves. You know, because life is real, and there's things to deal with. And you know, obviously you can't giggle your way through every day, but you can have a calm delight. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart". This is just good ole practical common sense. These are things that you can go home and you can say, "You know what? I'm living the deeper life". And people are not gonna not know what you're talking about, but they're gonna want what you've got. Ways to increase your joy on purpose.
First of all, pay a little attention to your health, because I'll be honest with ya, if you have physical things going on that you're not attending to properly, all the rest of this is gonna be tough. I didn't know that I had some low thyroid issues, and I reached a point in my life where I just felt like every morning when I got up, it was 11 o'clock before I could get happy about anything. I just didn't feel good. I was just dragging myself around, and I went to a really good nutritionist who found that I had kind of a unique thyroid situation where there's a couple of different kinds of thyroid you have, and one's T3 and one's T4. My t3 wasn't converting to T4, so even though on a regular medical test it showed up that I was within the limits of being okay, it was still too low for me. And they put me on just a little bit of natural thyroid and I could not believe the difference. And you know what? Always ask yourself first, if you're sad and depressed all the time, if it's spiritual, if it's attitude. Go there first.
But if you really believe that you don't have a bad attitude, and you are solid with God, then don't just sit around and do nothing. Get yourself checked out by somebody good and find out if there is something that's causing this that you can't do anything about. It's not a lack of faith to seek medical help if you need it. Keep your dependence on God, but use every resource that he's given. Is anybody home today, amen? And I know you're not gonna care for this, but in good conscience I have to say it anyway, if you would like to increase your joy, start exercising. You can do it or not do it, I'm just throwing it out there. It's gonna help you. You know, walk, do something, lift weights, you know, do something. God gave us joints because we're supposed to move, not sit in a recliner all day and go, "I just feel terrible today. I just really feel bad". Oh, gosh, I wish I had another hour with you.
All right. Now we're gonna go through a little list here on how you can increase your joy. Number one, stop trying to figure everything out and start trusting God. "Well, I just don't understand. I just don't understand. And I'm so confused, and I don't understand". Well, if God's not telling you anything, don't try to figure it out. You're just gonna get yourself more confused. Get comfortable not knowing. It's a great place of peace. "Well, what do you think caused this"? I don't know. I either did something right or I did something wrong, either way only God can take care of it. You know, if we do something wrong, sometimes we can open a door for the enemy, but if we do something right, he comes after us anyway trying to stop us, so I don't worry about that stuff anymore. I pray about it. If God's got something he wants to show me, I'm more than happy to see it. Not afraid of anything that God wants to tell me. Don't ever be afraid of anything that God wants to tell you about you.
Did you hear me? Don't ever be afraid of anything that God wants to show you about you. Take it all. Say "God, you're right. I'm wrong. Only you can change me. Here I am, I'm yours. Go to work". The moment that you start to have concern about something, the moment you start to have concern about it, pray and release it to God. You know, we don't pray after we've done everything we know to do. "Well, God, I've just done everything that I know to do so I guess there's nothing left to do but pray". Prayer is not a last-ditch effort, it's a first-line response. You have any idea what God can do if you'll just ask him to get involved in your messes? I mean, I see such amazing things through prayer, and I've committed this year to pray about things faster and more often than ever before. And I've already seen some pretty astounding things, just simple prayer. "God, I ask you to take care of this. I can't do it, you do it".
Don't waste your time trying to change people. If they won't change for God, they ain't gonna change for you. Stop trying to rescue people that don't want to be rescued. John 16:24 says, "Ask and receive that your joy might be full". Isn't that beautiful? "Ask and receive that your joy might be full". Philippians 4:6, "Be anxious for nothing but in all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God". Verse 7, "And the peace that passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting". Has anybody ever solved anything worrying about it? Next one, stay positive at all times and believe. Romans 15:13 says, "Joy and peace are found in believing". Come on, we're talking about righteousness, peace, and joy. Where can I find peace and joy? If I've lost my joy, where's the first place to look? What am I believing? What am I believing? What am I thinking? How am I looking at this situation? Have I gotten negative?
Something that I do almost every day, and I'll just give it to you and I think it's a good thing to do, I'm not up very long. Sometimes I don't even get out of bed and I say, "Something good is gonna happen to me today, and something good is gonna happen through me today". Expect good things, expect them. Get your expecters out of the back of the closet, dust them off and start expecting good things in your life. And don't think the devil won't oppose you. You may have to make it through a few things that look like, "Well, I'm not gonna pray that anymore". But I can give you scripture after scripture where the Bible tells us to expect God.
David said, "What would it become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of living". Thank God we don't have to wait till the sweet by and by when we go to heaven to see good things. God wants to give us good things right here while we're living in the earth. Lighten up. Don't be so stinking intense about everything. "Oh, did you feel that heaviness in the room today"? Well, yeah, it might have been you. Be very careful about what you say. 1 Peter 3:10, "This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad". Talk to yourself. "My joy is not based on my circumstances. My peace is not based on my circumstances". "For let him who wants to enjoy life", is that you, you want to enjoy life? "And see good days, good whether apparent or not", so, that's basically saying, have good days, even if your circumstances are not good.
I'm not making this up. It's right here. "Let him keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile". You know, there's so many things that we say flippantly without even realizing what they mean, but has anybody ever said something mean to you and you said, "You're gonna eat those words"? That comes from the Bible. The Bible says that we have to eat our own words. Proverbs 18:20, "A man's [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth: and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil]. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge it shall eat the fruit of it whether [for death or life]".
You're not gonna have joy if all you talk about is your problems all day. We're not gonna enjoy life if we just sit around in little groups and gossip about other people. Don't spend your lunch hour sitting at the table at work talking about everything that's wrong with the place and everything they don't do and what you don't have. If that's all everybody will talk about, then if you have to, go eat by yourself. Take a walk and just say, "God, I know there's things that could be better, but I'm so grateful that I've got a job. Thank you, God, that I've got a job". You gotta fight the devil. And the biggest thing, the best thing... Are you ready for the finale? The best thing, the very best, greatest, most wonderful thing that you can do to increase your joy is do something for somebody else. Now, that is the absolute, most fun way to get a better life.