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Study: 10:30 am on Tuesdays
THE THIRD AND FOURTH PILLARS: HUMOR AND ACCEPTANCE
"[God], I am now coming to you and all these things that I speak in the world, [I do so] that your people here may have my joy fulfilled in themselves." John 17:13
FOR YOUR REFLECTION:Strengthening internal joy takes time. It takes time to develop our spiritual capacity, just as it takes time to strengthen muscles or reach another physical goal. Both humor and acceptance are key pillars of building this capacity: humor allows us to let go, to make human connections, to make room for humility that will allow God's delight and joy in us to enter. Acceptance helps us deal with life on its own terms, and to take a healthy and helpful relationship to change and everything over which we have little or no control.
As you build your firm foundation of joy, it helps to take a step back, find a few friends and have a good laugh! It helps to look at those around you and ask yourself, "What would it mean for me to really accept these people just as they are?" And how about offering yourself that same grace-to accept yourself just as you are? God already has! So, why not? Why not try it? I can guarantee that as you learn to accept yourself and others around you, you will find many things that will make you laugh!
FROM THE BOOK OF JOY:Bishop Tutu: "We are meant to live in joy. This does not mean that life will be easy or painless. It means that we can turn our faces to the wind and accept that this is the storm we must pass through. We cannot succeed by denying what exists. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin. As one grows in the spiritual life, we are able to accept anything that happens to us, the frustrations and hardships are part of the warp and woof of life. The question is not, how do we escape it? The question is, how can we use this as something positive?" (Page 224)
QUESTIONS FOR EXPLORING JOY: What makes you laugh? How can you view the world with more humor? And how can moving into acceptance build your joy?
ACTION STEPS:Find a place or situation in which to laugh. Really laugh...and if you can do this with others, all the better! Ponder a situation or person where you are struggling with acceptance. Try to turn over your reluctance to God and move into gentle acceptance, of the other person and of yourself. What can you accept and let go of, with humor, to experience greater joy?
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