BY SHILA ANDERSON
I was having one of those days. I woke up to the rain, and rain always gets me down. I finished our tax return and found out we owed more than we thought we did. I left my lunch in the refrigerator at home, so I was starving at work. And when my daughter got home from school, I had to deal with ten-year-old girl drama – not fun. All of these “things” put me in a bad mood. I spent the whole day with a bad attitude and a scowl on my face. When my husband got home and asked me if I could please just smile, I wanted to scream.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to think my joy is based on my circumstances. I would be happy if only I got enough sleep the night before, if I didn’t get stuck in traffic, if my house was clean, or even if the sun was shining! I have the mentality that people or things can steal my joy. Newsflash – no one and no thing can steal my joy. I am the one choosing to give it up. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, joy is always available to us.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
If we ever feel like we aren’t portraying these “fruits,” honestly, it’s our own fault. Sometimes, we just need to pray and ask God for help. Since we, as Christians, are supposed to be living by the Spirit, we need to let the Spirit lead us in every part of our lives. Sometimes we might need to force that smile, instead of barking out our laundry list of reasons why we aren’t happy. Just because we are Christians, doesn’t mean that we are always going to get what we want. The test is how we act when things don’t go our way. Are we going to be filled with joy because we are filled with the Spirit, or are we going to be filled with anger, bitterness, and unhappiness because we are filled with the world?
I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. - Psalm 9:2
I decided after my husband told me to smile (and I wanted to scream) to actually smile. It was not easy at first. I had to pray and give my nasty attitude to God. Then, I tried to fix my mind on happy thoughts and on good memories. I actually went and looked at pictures of when the kids were little to change my focus. They were just so cute. I couldn’t help but smile. I have been so blessed. I felt foolish for being crabby after all God has done for me.
Satan would love nothing more than for us to walk around miserable. How about we make him mad and walk around happy? When you get up each day (even the days with rain), say to yourself, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” And as you are standing at your closet, trying to figure out what to wear, don’t forget to put on your smile!
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice. - Philippians 4:4