Tag Archives: finding joy

The Joy Of Contentment

When I travel to New Orleans, there’s a certain homeless person I like to say hello to. He always makes me smile and he never asks me for anything. He’ll say, “It ain’t gonna cost you nothing to come say hello. I ain’t gonna rob you!” I then walk over and say hello and he puts a smile on my face. Except on a recent trip he called me over and said, “You know I never ask for nothing, but could you go in there and buy me an orange juice and sandwich? I’m about to curl up on my cardboard and I’m hungry.”

When I handed him his dinner, he hugged me and thanked me. He then asked, “You know what I’d change about the world?” My mind began to think of any number of answers. No more homelessness. No more hunger. No more devaluing people. No more selfishness. But before I could decide on an answer, he grabbed my shoulder, looked up at the sky, smiled a big toothless grin, and said, “Absolutely nothing!” He laughed, thanked me again and walked away.

I thought about his answer as I walked back to my hotel. Here’s a man, for whatever reason, is sleeping on a cardboard mat on the streets of downtown New Orleans and is exposed to the elements constantly, and he wouldn’t change a thing. Even though he has absolutely nothing to his name, he has found a way to be content. He’s learned to choose joy instead of bitterness over his situation. It’s a lesson we all could learn.

Paul learned that secret and told us about it in Philippians 4:12. He said, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (NLT). That secret is choosing the joy of contentment with where God has you. That joy gives us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. It takes us from being a victim of life to a victor over our situation. Don’t try to change your world. Change your attitude. The next verse tells us we can. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Photo by Ev on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Breaking The Perpetual, Downward Spiral


Not long ago, I was sitting at home stressing over everything on my plate. I was trying to figure out how and when I could get everything accomplished. Then the muscles around my eye started to spasm and I remembered that an eye doctor once told me once that that was usually due to stress. When I remembered it was due to stress, I began to think again about all I had to do. My eye began to spasm worse. I remembered I was stressed and started the process again.

I was in a perpetual, downward spiral. Ever been there? They’re hard to get out of. My wife came home and immediately noticed something was wrong. She asked and I began to frantically tell her all that was on my plate. I explained that my eye was driving me nuts too. She stopped me and said, “Why don’t you go outside and get your mind right? Go out there and stop thinking about all this and think about things that make you happy.”

After being out there a few minutes, the spiral started again. I had to push back and enjoy my surroundings. I began to thank God for each of the blessing in my life. I thought of all the things I have that bring me joy and happiness and thanked Him for them. After a while, I had t noticed, but my eye stopped twitching. I began to feel better about things. It reminded me of Proverbs 17:22 that says, “A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing” (AMP).

If you Google “happiness and joy as a medicine”, you will find study and after study that shows the correlation between a positive mood and humor with better health. If you’re like me and end up in these perpetual, downward spirals from time to time, find a way to get your mind on something that brings you joy. It doesn’t take away the problem, but it clears it up, brings healthy thoughts and helps you break the cycle. With a healthy, joyful mind you can solve any problem. 

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