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JOY- Just Be

"Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

Week of Monday, September 27th- Friday, October 1st, 2021

Coming up with content can be tricky when you have everything to work with. For example, as a teacher if you know you have to teach World War One or African independence movements, you know what to work with and the key concepts you want students to take away. For content such as this, a devotional or reflective blog post, we have our whole lives to dissect and digest. This is why today, as Fall continues to creep in for most of us, I want you to do something different.

It has been over a decade since I have experienced a New England fall, which used to be my favorite time of year as a kid. It meant football games and tailgating with family and friends, listening to the college bands, cheering on my dad's team, going back to school with friends, new classes and teachers, watching the leaves turn burnt orange and red, breathing in the fresh, crisp autumn air, buying new clothes, new scents of pumpkin spice, and so much more.

I am grateful and unexpectedly touched to experience this season again in all its glory as it takes me back to cherished childhood memories. This week, I want you to carve out time to do something that brings peace and joy to your heart, maybe something you haven't done in a long time, like apple picking or watching the stars at night. Maybe it's writing a poem, looking through old photos, going for a bike ride (buying a bike?), listening to old music or anything else. In particular, I think the best medicine for our souls also involves an outdoor activity. Being in nature is, of course, very therapeutic. And when you're in these moments, be truly thankful. Verbally express your gratitude to God and the universe. Take a moment to consciously acknowledge where you are in life and from where you have come. Think about the direction you want to take for your life as you continue your day to day activities. I've said it before, I'm learning that being in the moment can be one of the best ways to stay joyful, grateful, and hopeful. Look at how far you've come! Look at all you've done in your life and all you have experienced!

As you go nonstop throughout your week, remember to do something you haven't done in a while, something that takes you back to a precious memory or place, or makes you feel radiant and alive. Maybe call a cousin or friend you haven't talked to in a while. All of this brings instant joy and peace to our hearts. God wants the best for our lives. He wants us to make the most of our time, and experience joy to its fullest. Those darker days should make us understand real joy. Despite all the stressful things you have on your plate, from raising a family to managing your job or your health, take time to enjoy the very simple things, and don't forget to strike a smile at just how amazing life can be!

Check out these verses for hope and direction <3

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'"

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer and enables me to tread on the heights.”

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