How can we leave a legacy which includes a few laughs? Well, let’s not force it or mimic how someone else does it. Let joy be an inner reality not like happiness coming from external circumstances. Let joy come from the Spirit of God living inside us rather than the pleasure of things all around us. With that reality, it is a choice we can make to rejoice and be glad.
The Psalmist wrote, “The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
The apostle Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
* Realize the importance of celebrating alone.
Like most of these steps toward equilibrium, celebration is to be done alone and with others. Too often we rush toward groups as a method of denying our dislike of ourselves. Rejoice alone. Refuse to need an escape of herding. Early morning merriments and late-night revels need not wait for the masses to arrive. Begin and end making a choice to rejoice when alone—remembering you aren’t alone at all. The One you are celebrating doesn’t need a crowd. You don’t either.
* Realize the importance of celebrating with others.
Though alone moments of rejoicing move us toward a healthy equilibrium, and though our example Jesus often left the masses to cherish times with the Father, all of these steps of a balanced life include community. Most of the biblical texts about rejoicing are in the plural, not the singular. Join with others to rejoice. And remember. It is not just about your style of preference musically or ceremonially. Yes, stay true to your convictions. But step out of your partiality. You are not rejoicing about your method of rejoicing. You have a reason to be glad. Remember that reason. Find and experience your joy there.
* Realize the importance of celebrating often.
Refuse to let these experiences be rare. Daily, take time to be glad. Regularly, set aside moments to rejoice. Consistently, when emotions participate or when they would prefer to frown all day, smile about what matters most. Schedule times to apply the discipline of rejoicing alone and with others. Also, be ready to rejoice when those pleasant astonishments occur. Gaze at the wonder around you and celebrate. Your true self will appreciate this shifting from leaning too far and too long away from positive experiences.
When have you recently smiled? When have you recently laughed? What is a story from your life when you felt joy was distant? What is a story from your life when you found joy amid difficulty? How can you live with a true smile—not one of those fake smiles for a picture—shining from your face?
It often helps to step aside from the whirlwind of negativity and intentionally focus on a few positives. Through this book you know I am not encouraging you to avoid or deny hurt. I want you to face them.
I also want you to let God bring grace to you during those storms. One way a calming might come is for you to redirect your thinking toward optimistic, constructive realities.
Right now, celebrate.
Make the choice to rejoice.