The title of this post is a bit bold. Naturally, it would be handy to have a formula for a perfect day. Simply add x + y + z, and you'll have an awesome day. This weekend is a prime example. Theoretically, it should have been an awesome weekend because all the "good variables" were there:
- I had three weekend days off in a row
- We went out to eat with friends on Friday evening and had a wonderful time
- I woke up really early on Saturday and visited a fun new-to-me coffee shop with a friend, and then got home early and had a whole day ahead of me for fun activities/household tasks
Good momentum, right? Sounds like a lovely weekend! And in all fairness, up until that point, it was really good. I have all these cute coffee shop photos to prove it. ;) As I got out of my friend's car, I believe I said something to the effect of, "There is no way we can have a bad day after such a good morning!" But that's where I puttered out, right after a nap. I woke up feeling restless, aimless, and hard-pressed to find joy. I picked up my phone, aimlessly scrolled, and watched a good few hours of Friday Night Lights on Netflix, because those things help with a restless heart, right?
Sure enough, the restlessness intensified. I threw myself on the couch rather dramatically, covered myself with a blanket, and told Nicholas, "I just don't know what to do." If you read that in a whiney tone, you'd be spot on. He suggested that I cook or bake, because those are my favorite rest routines and he knows time in the kitchen calms me down. I headed to the kitchen, preheated the oven for cookies, and then started chopping veggies for supper. Within five minutes, I started feeling better. That husband of mine, he knows me.
My question is this: Where did my day go wrong?
The moment I convince myself there's a Perfect Day Formula is when I start believing that the quality of each day of my life is based entirely on external circumstances. If it's a good day, my awareness of my heart attitude diminishes and I begin thinking I'm somehow untouchable by sadness or disappointment, because this is the perfect day!
In this distraction-filled world, joy is hard work, and I forgot that. Only later did I realize that my joy, as someone who belongs to Christ should be untouchable by any circumstances, good or bad. To realign myself, I needed biblical truth.
Verses for Joy
- Philippians 4.4: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
- Romans 12.12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
- Psalm 4.7: You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
- Psalm 94.18-19: When I thought, “My foot slips,” Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
In order to effectively use these truths, I need to know these truths. When I forget to find my joy in Christ, I need an action plan. Namely, I want to memorize these verses, have them handy on notecards at first, and then, have them handy at the forefront of my mind. Join me in memorizing the verses above, if you like! Of course, there are countless other verses about the immense joy we can find in Christ, so let's not miss out.
The closest "formula" for a joyful heart:
Knowing & believing God's promises, & believing in Him who promised these things to us.
Fall feels like a number of transitions, one right after the other. We are now bridging into late fall, with lots of frost in the mornings, first sightings of bare trees, and darker, cozier evenings at home. Of course, there is talk of Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon too, along with early preparations for those. I do tend to be swept by the momentum of this season, if I'm not careful. I'll admit that Christmas music accompanies us throughout the day sometimes, and I've already done most of our shopping, but I do want to be intentional to savor the almost-but-not-yet. To not wish away November and it's baring of trees in favor of the glow of Thanksgiving and Christmastime. There is great beauty and contentment in this month, as well. I don't want to miss it.
We've taken to a regular "cozy hike," as we've termed it. A nearly wooded path, my favorite spot for fall color, a wagon, an eager toddler, a cozy blanket, and snacks. I look for the bright red leaves, since those are a favorite for both of us. And we also look for acorns and pinecones, treasures on the ground.
I'm typically in a rush to wish away the hot days of summer, to exchange them for cozy days, sweater season, cool mornings. I'm an optimist, and that optimism frequently couples itself with being future minded. Constantly looking forward with hope, but also sometimes looking forward with misplaced longing that can inhibit me from being present. But this past weekend, the events of both days were lovely, and being present felt easy and good.