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Live Bravely: Now. Not Next.

Updated: Jan 12, 2020

I was seeing "goodbye 2019" memes in September! Seriously? We are just going to fast forward to January with a quarter of the year left? Do you know how much amazingness you can create in 90 days? AND let me just say this (oh my goodness if y'all were sitting with me in my office right now you'd see the Italian hands waving! I get so passionate about this.) Let me just say this...What you are doing now in the last 90 days of this year is CRITICAL for the momentum you'll create to get you on the fast track to accomplishing that New Year's goal.....ok...that's for another's my point about the memes:

The biggest thief of joy is worrying about what's next so we can't enjoy what's now.

I think Mary fought the desire to know all the answers to what was coming next with her child so she would not be robbed of being in every moment with him. She tucked away in her heart the angel that appeared to her to announce her pregnancy and sharing she was giving birth to the Son of God, angels proclaiming the birth of Jesus to the shephards, and Jesus teaching in the temple at age 12. She had to wonder from the very first moment "what is going to happen?" But she models profound humility, surrender and wisdom beautifully.

In Luke 2:19 we read "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." And in Luke 2:51 "Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart."

When Luke tells us that Mary kept things in her heart, the word he uses indicates a long process of mulling or to store information in one’s mind for careful consideration, hold or treasure up (in one’s memory). By pondering the miracles in her life, Mary allowed the treasures God brought her to dwell so deeply in her heart that her actions and words flowed directly from them.

Mary had more to ponder than anyone else in this story. She had to question her experience and her response. She had to make sense of all that she had encountered and accept living with more questions than answers and far more hope than certainties. In addition to all of that, she was a mother. She had to change the diapers and fix dinner and raise a little boy. Her circumstances were not ideal. I am certain it would have been easy for her to fear, fret, faint and forget while waiting for the mystery of her child's purpose to unfold, but she chose humility and to preserve every present moment - in some translations it says every word - in her heart.

So what can we learn from this?

Circumstances don't make you, they reveal you. How you respond to the life God offers you is what makes you. Just like Mary. I can't always control the circumstances of my life, but I can always guard the atmosphere of my heart. Just like Mary.

God wants your inner man to be strong and healthy because your internal condition affects your external condition. If you are healthy in your soul, you will be healthy in your relationships, finances and every area. On the other hand, if your internal condition is negative, sour and defeated, then your life will reflect the same thing.

Today you might not feel particularly happy because of your present circumstances but you should, at this very moment in time, be experiencing biblical joy if you have in fact made a profession of faith in Christ.

Happiness is an attitude of satisfaction or delight based on some present circumstance. Happiness is related to happenings.

Happiness is related to “happenstance.”

Happiness is related to “hap” which is a word that basically communicates chance. Happiness is that which you really can’t plan or program.

Happiness may or may not happen. This is very different from biblical joy.

Biblical joy is a deep down confidence that all is well with our soul no matter what the circumstances might be. When we are talking about biblical joy we are talking about something that is not related to circumstances or chance at all. As Bill High puts it "Joy is a feeling, yes. But it’s also a confident abiding in the vine, which is Jesus. It’s knowing that all of our life derives from the vine. But it is also the future expectation that everything is going to be okay as we draw life from the vine—no matter our circumstances".

Mary was no forgetful hearer, some things she did not yet clearly understand, but she kept them in her heart; and those who do as Mary shall too, cultivate a heart of treasures to ponder and preserve now, not tomorrow or the next day.

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