Training My Heart to Rejoice

I’m not really a fan of new years resolutions. They seem too tenuous, too half hearted. What I like to do instead is to take time at the beginning of the year to set goals for myself – goals of what I want to accomplish and where I want to be by the time the year ends. Normally I write them out and hang them somewhere easily accessible, visible, etc. so that as the year goes on, I won’t forget them. This year, my goals have been hanging next to the calendar on the side of my fridge.

A few days ago, as I was switching my calendar over from June to July, I saw the paper, and I pulled it off the fridge to read it more carefully. The very last goal I had written took me by surprise – I’d completely forgotten I’d ever considered it. It was a goal to change my perspective by focusing on gratitude. I wanted to teach myself to see the positive before I saw the negative, to dwell on (as the Bible says) … whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report … (Philippians 4:8). And I ended by writing “I will train my heart to rejoice.”

That turn of phrase really struck me. It stuck to my spiritual ribs, so to speak. I’ve been pondering it, meditating on it, turning it over in my mind for days now. I’ve asked myself, how do you do this? What does it look like to have a heart that rejoices? How does that feel? And how do I get there?

These are the types of questions that just lead to more questions. But I like where they’re going. So that’s what I’m doing for the month of July 2022. I am studying what it means to rejoice, and I am looking for the practical, everyday, honest, and sustainable ways that I can make my heart more joyful every single day.

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