July 18

Purpose:  Practicing the Presence of Joy

       When I was a boy I thought God was really old, and always mad at somebody.  I thought God was unhappy with me most of the time, and probably never smiled.  I had no idea that God was actually joyful and relaxed… and smiled… a lot!  I suppose I picked up this message about an unhappy God from my own unhappy childhood.  It’s not that I was terribly abused or neglected; it was all the rules.  I felt unhappy about keeping this long list of rules, my parents were unhappy because they had to enforce them, and therefore God was unhappy with all of us.

       One of the few joys I had as a boy was traveling somewhere – usually camping.  It was exciting to pack up the car and tent trailer (back in the sixties), and head out on the road to somewhere only my father knew.  It was this sense of adventure that injected a measure of joy into my experience as a young boy.  The chance to explore and discover new things heightened my anticipation of life and the joy of living.  There was something joyful about the adventure, something rejuvenating about the trip to a new place.  I trusted my ‘higher power’ – my father – to get us there safely and successfully.  The joy was in the journey…

       When I became an adult I lost that sense of adventure and the joy of the journey.  I became less willing to step out and explore.  Life became this journey that I wasn’t prepared to make; yet I attempted to convince others that I was in the game when I really wasn’t.  I tried to make myself (and others) believe that everything was good and I was a spiritually connected person.  But I wasn’t.  In fact, I was very disconnected from God, from my loved ones and especially from myself.

       But this was not God’s will for me – to be so disconnected and two-faced.  My secret life may have been under wraps, but it was eating away at me like a cancer from the inside out.  God’s will was for me to be fully alive and fully engaged in life and I was this hollow man with no purpose trying desperately to maintain some form of normalcy.

       God’s will for you and me is to experience more power, more freedom, more joy!  It’s God’s will that we live our lives on purpose, fully alive, and fully engaged.  But how can you live your life with more purpose? 

       It’s not complicated.  It’s the natural outcome of surrendering to God’s will.  When you surrender to God’s will, you let go of your own illusions.  You let go of your own limitations about who you think you are and begin to realize where your power comes from. 

       You learn to make choices that will allow you to know God’s power, freedom and joy!  There are no rules!  The only “boundaries” are the ones that you create in order to stay sober.  Everything else is a self-imposed limitation that holds you back from knowing the power and grace of God in your life.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have not power over your life.  You have the ability to make choices which determine how each moment of your life will unfold.  You are not helpless. 

       God’s will and God’s purpose is within your grasp; you can choose to take the steps to find God’s will for your life.  And there is joy that is in store for you should you decide to make the right choices.

 Tomorrow’s topic – Purpose:  Experiencing the reality of God’s joy