40 Day Journey to Joy – Day 33

What is your goal for the COVID 19 Pandemic? 

It sounds like a silly question.  The survivalist in me just wants to live through it with my finances and relationships intact.   On Day 33 of 40-Days to a Joy-Filled Life, Tommy Newberry offers another option.   

Newberry states that people are presented with a situation.  This worldwide crisis would certainly qualify as a situation.  He says they react with a thought that, if it persists generates an emotion followed by an action. If we react with a negative emotion the behavior that follows is likely to move us away from what we really want.  We don’t have to run our lives reactively, waiting for something good or bad to happen to trigger our thinking, emotions, and actions.  We can, he exerts, create a “to think” list like the positive one Paul suggests in Philippians 4:8 which will produce the emotional life we want and in turn spur us to action consistent with the goals and ideals most important to us. 

Having a goal can help you stay on the course you desire.  As a parent, for example, your goal to be loving and patient helps you to respond to your children responsibly regardless of the justification for anger and impatience.  There are tragic stories all around us.  But I don’t want to become fearful and timid, willing to give up my freedom to any entity that promises to keep me safe.  If this teaches us anything, it’s that safety is an illusion.  I want to be full of faith in God, trusting Him more and more. 

If that is my goal, how should I react to my circumstances and what should be on my “to think” list?  Newberry says, “When you live purposefully, think rightly, serve generously, and forgive quickly, you are laying the groundwork for emotional victory.”  For me, that means taking care of myself and my family, not taking offense during these times of oh-so-close quarantine.  It is staying away from the news with its blame casting and doom and gloom predictions.  I am determined to read Scripture, and to spend more of this free time I’ve been given in fellowship with Jesus and the Father through prayer.  I will maintain relationships with other Christians through Zoom meetings and phone calls and I will keep giving to my church and organizations that help those experiencing the worse of this pandemic. 

It would be easy to sit in negativity.  Our teacher asks, “If it comes down to choosing between experiencing joy or experiencing the negative emotion you believe you deserve, what’s it going to be?”  He tells us that God has provided a small window of opportunity between the stimuli and our response which give us an opportunity to choose negativity or joy. 

For today, think about your current circumstances.  Identify up to three stressful or difficult situations involving important people in your life.  Describe the goal or positive outcome you would like to see for each.  Clarify how you intend to respond to these circumstances to preserve your joy and reach your goal. 

How could you move now toward a better future after the Corona Virus Outbreak? 

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