The Mid Life Joy Challenge #midlifeJOY

God recently had a little smack down talk with me.   In light of my impending 40th birthday, God had a question for me:

 "If you're not happy now, with all I have given you, when will you be happy?"  

I didn't have an answer.
You see, I live my life chasing happiness on the tail of one little word -  WHEN.  

I will be happy WHEN I am married - CHECK
I will be happy WHEN we have a child - CHECK, CHECK
I will be happy WHEN we move to that house - CHECK
I will be happy WHEN we make XX amount a year - CHECK
I will be happy WHEN I have a good career - CHECK

There's a never ending list of WHEN's you can chase.  I have more freedom, luxury, security, love, and pleasure than 99% of the world's population. I have been saved for eternity by the blood of my Savior.  Yet when people ask "How are you?" my most common answers are;  busy, tired, or fine.  If I'm honest, I have to admit that I'm not a very happy person.  You see there's still a list:

I will be happy WHEN I lose 50 lbs - 
I will be happy WHEN we are out of debt -
I will be happy WHEN ...

So, I had no answer for God.

Sitting in the silence of our conversation He whispered a new word to me:  JOY.  
Joy?  That surprised me.  Not contentment, or even happiness?   He whispered JOY.   He whispered it into my ear like a reminder, an assignment, a challenge.  God wants me, His daughter, to be full of JOY now, not later, not WHEN, but now, because it's already been given to me.  You see JOY is very different than happiness.  

Happiness is a feeling human's seek, JOY is a gift God has given us. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Happiness is fleeting, JOY is eternal (John 14:1-3) 
Happiness is self-centered, JOY is God-centered.  (Psalm 1:23)
Happiness is fragile, JOY is strength.  (Nehemiah 8:10)

I've accepted the challenge to start living out a life of joy.  I'd like to invite you to join me.  
This year-long project will consist of monthly themes that will force us to take a look into areas of our lives that are stealing our Joy.  We'll look at what God says about these areas, memorize truth-giving scripture, and then walk out these truth with a challenge.  Each month I will post at the beginning of the month about the theme and challenge, at the end of the month I will post a personal recap of how I walked out the challenge.  

The challenge for January is to decide to join me in the Mid Life Joy Challenge.  If you are not subscribed to The Celebrated Family - you can do so on the right hand side of the website.  With the remaining days of January share a picture on Twitter, Instagram, of Facebook with the tag #midlifeJOY.  Let's keep our eyes open for JOY and share it with one another.