Finding Joy…But How?!

It’s the time of year when we say goodbye to summer and transition into a new season, sending children off to school, making plans for the approaching holidays of autumn, and hopefully recommitting to our personal fitness goals. In the midst of this change in pace, I personally long for a season characterized by JOY. Joy is my goal because I’m a summer-lovin’ girl, so saying goodbye to summer makes me a bit sad. The new fall session of Body & Soul Fitness is titled “Finding Joy”, so this is right down my alley! I’m thinking that all of us want to find joy, and many of us may be asking the question: “but how?” This is the place I found myself several weeks ago as I prepared to speak about the topic of joy at Body & Soul’s regional training workshops. As I marinated on the question, I began praying that God would show me – and allow me to share with others – ways to find joy during this fall season. Keep reading to discover how God showed me how to find joy…in 5 simple words.

  • TODAY. Today is a gift – a real gift. Not everyone has life and breath–I’m personally grateful that I do. This gratefulness causes me to strive to live in the present and to defend against anxiety about tomorrow. I have to admit that I wish worry be considered a talent because I do it so well! In the Gospel of Matthew it says “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” As an adult and as a mother, I have found that this is very true. Don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow; instead, live in the moment of today.
  • REST. As a fitness instructor I understand the importance of physical rest in order to protect myself from fatigue, overuse, and potential injury. I understand that rest is meant for my benefit, in terms of performance and physical refreshment. What God is teaching me is that mental and spiritual rest is also important to protect me from burnout, a lukewarm spiritual life, and overall emotional fatigue.
  • UNDER. Proverbs 3:6 reads “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” I don’t know about you, but submission does not come naturally to this strong-willed, independent-thinking, summer-lovin’ girl. Yet, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I take scripture seriously and strive to obey. Submit is defined as “yielding to the power or authority of another”. In this case, my “another” is God and his power and authority are far and away higher than mine, so I’m in – and  a “straight path” toward joy sounds lovely to me.
  • SOVEREIGN. Sovereign is a big word for power, authority, and superiority. It describes God perfectly. He is the ultimate source of all power and authority. He is superior and great. He is independent of all others, and He is completely in charge and in control. Scripture describes God as the Alpha and Omega, and it tells us that He created the heavens and the earth and all things, and that His kingdom rules over all. Remembering this puts my small life in perspective and reminds me of the power and strength of the One who is my heavenly Father.
  • TRUTH. I believe that God’s word, the Bible, is true, and God is teaching me in this season to rely on truth to guide me into joy. In order to rely on it I must know it, which means I must read it and let it change me from the inside out. I am learning to remember His promises that I read, and to take them personally. I’m learning to believe what God says about me, because these truths are my defense against discouragement (and discouragement is a stealer of joy). Colossians 3:16 says to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” and Joshua 1:8 says to “meditate on it [God’s Word] day and night…then you will have good success”. I will hold tight to His truth in a world that is chaotic and full of deception.

These 5 words are changing me with the changing of the season. They are calling this summer-lovin’ girl to slow down and live life in the present, defending against worry and discouragement as I submit to God’s authority and believe what He says about me. When I put these 5 simple words together, taking the first letter of each, it shows me how to find joy. T.R.U.S.T. Finding joy requires trust in the One who is in complete control and in charge – in every season of life. Finding joy means starting each day with this declaration: “TODAY I will REST UNDER God’s SOVEREIGN TRUTH.” May these 5 words lead you on the path to finding joy!

Amy Stafford is the President of Body & Soul Fitness, certified personal trainer, ACE faculty and ACE Group Fitness Instructor. She is a leader in the fitness industry and is a popular speaker for women’s events, retreats, fitness conferences. For information on booking Amy for your event or for an interview please email Amy currently teaches in the Williamsburg, VA area.

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