Living In A State of Joy
The very first step in your personal development journey, in the Fourth Dimension , is to live life in a state of joy. This may seem strange to you.
Right now, you may not feel joyful at all. You may have had a day, where nothing seemed to go right. You may even feel helpless about your circumstances.
On the other hand, you may be feeling happy, content or maybe even ecstatic. Perhaps, you feel lonely, depressed, sad or defeated. It may be hard for you to even imagine feeling gratitude, contentment, joy or anything but negative emotions.
You are not alone. I have felt all of the negative emotions. I have had all of those same negative feelings. There have been times, when I didn't feel or sense love or joy from anyone, including myself.
As a result, I felt I was living very inconsistently. I would feel happy one day, then lonely, depressed or defeated the next. There were days I would sit on my sofa and invite depression into my life.
At times, I would almost become a recluse, pulling away from everyone and everything. I wanted to go somewhere and hide, where even God couldn't find me. I didn't think God could possibly love me, with the way I was feeling about myself.
I would look at my past and some of the decisions I had made and think God couldn't possibly love me too deeply, others really wouldn't want to maintain their relationships with me and that there wasn't anyone who would want to be in a relationship of any kind with me in the future.
Others would pay me compliments regarding my abilities, how friendly I was or how they enjoyed my friendship.
I hardly ever took those compliments seriously. With the way I was thinking and feeling about myself, there was no way they were seeing the real me. If they did see the real me, then surely the compliments would stop and their friendship would be gone. Even God wouldn't, really want a relationship with me. God really didn't love me nor would He want to love me in the future.
In my mind, I was broken..virtually beyond repair. I was a permanent train wreck, a car so damaged, it needed to be declared totaled. That was my image of myself...broken..damaged..beyond repair...and it hurt.
But, I want to share with you something I discovered. If you allow what I'm getting ready to share to penetrate your heart and your spirit, it will liberate you.
It wasn't a discovery that I made suddenly. Remember, personal development takes time. If anyone promises you a quick and easy fix, you need to run. Personal development definitely takes time.
You Are Not Broken Beyond Repair
The discovery I made was this; I was not broken beyond repair. Did you get that? I was not broken beyond repair! I wasn't a totaled car.
That means you are not broken beyond repair either. You are not a totaled car that is worth nothing more than to be taken to the junkyard of life.
I have made decisions in my life, after I made them, I felt like I belonged in a trash heap. I felt like I was a total train wreck with no hope of repairing the damage.
Keep in mind, there are consequences to our decisions. Nothing happens in a vacuum. I realized that, after suffering the consequences.
The consequences remained, but I wasn't totalled. I was repairable. I wasn't worthless.
Perhaps, at this very moment, you have hit a low point in your life. Maybe you have made some decisions you aren't proud of. But you are not broken beyond repair. The consequences of your decisions may remain. But, you, yourself, are not broken beyond repair.
Yes, perhaps you feel broken. You are hurting. You may even feel worthless. But, you are not broken beyond repair.
Three Key Discoveries
I discovered three keys that changed my life...three keys that enabled me to again travel on the road of growth and life.
If you allow those three keys I discovered to become a revelation to you and penetrate your heart, you will be changed as well. Notice, I didn't say fixed. I said changed. Remember, you are not broken.
The three keys are so simple, if you are not careful, you will miss them and you will remain stuck.
The three keys are:
You Have Value
The first thing I discovered was that, I have value. This is crucial. If you don't believe you have value, you will see yourself as worthless, unfixably broken, and a nightmare waiting to enter someone's life.
There was a scripture I read, that drove this home to me. In Matthew, chapter 10, verses 29-31 Jesus said something that was comforting and liberating to me: "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Therefore, do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows."
I discovered that I have value! In this world of billions of people, if God took the time to number the hairs on my head, then I must have value. Fortunately, I still have a good number of hairs.
Don't get caught up on whether God actually numbered all of your hairs or not. The point is, my value to God is so much that He knows all the details about me.
Guess what? You have value as well. You and I are no different. We are just at different places along the road of growth and life. No matter what you have done or haven't done, no matter what you have experienced or haven't experienced, you have value.
Your Past Doesn't Matter
The second key I discovered was that my past didn't matter. God is love. Often we have a very difficult time relating to God's love, because we think of His love like we do the love one person has for another.
Let's be honest. There are people, you and I know, who will remind us of our past, things we've done that we are not proud of. Some of those people are family and friends. They love us. We know they do. But they remind us of our past nonetheless.
As a result, we often think of God's love the same way. This is how the thought process would work. If God loves me, then He will remind me of my past and the things I did as well.
You see, we think it is painful enough to be reminded by friends and family. We surely don't need or want God to remind us as well and add to the pain.
But, guess what? He doesn't remind us. This is how I discovered my past doesn't matter. Love is defined in the Bible in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. In verse 6, it says that love "keeps no record of wrongs" (NIV), or it "always looks for the best and never looks back" (The Message).
That was powerful for me. If God is love and love keeps no record of wrongs, always looks for the best and never looks back, then He is always looking for the best in me and doesn't keep records of my past. That meant I wasn't broken beyond repair. My past, though it exists, will not hold me back.
The Hidden Power
The third key I discovered is very powerful. It is a power so strong, it has changed the destinies of individuals, companies and nations.
What is one thing you and I do every day? We don't always do it consciously, but we do it, nevertheless.
You and I make decisions. This is so simple that most miss it! I have the power of decision. You have the power of decision. Remember, your life, as it is now, is a picture made up of all of the decisions you have made, up until now.
Do you also remember how the first step in personal development is taking responsibility for your life? If not, take the time now to read the introductory article on my home page . That responsibility involves decisions. You and I have the power of decision.
We can change the direction of our lives, in an instant, suddenly, by consciously using the power of decision.
If my life, and your life, is a picture made up of all of the decisions we have made in the past, then you and I have the power to create a new picture, a new work of art titled "My Life".
You can use the power of decision to allow your past to be something you learn from, instead of it paralyzing you. My past paralyzed me many times. But I realized, through the power of decision, I was empowered and did not need to be paralyzed by helplessness.
No longer would my past dictate my future. My future was determined by the decisions I would make.
As a result of discovering that you aren't broken beyond repair, you'll see that you have value, your past doesn't matter and you have the power of decision.
Once you discover that you aren't broken beyond repair, you will have reached the starting point of your personal development journey.
The Starting Point: Joy, Contentment and Gratitude
That starting point, is living life in a state of joy. But isn't joy the destination rather than the starting point? If you were broken beyond repair, then yes, it would be the destination. But, remember, you aren't broken beyond repair, you have value, your past doesn't matter and you have the power of decision.
Now, the joy I'm speaking of isn't some shallow emotion of happiness and bubbly personality. It isn't saying you are content to remain where you are in your life's journey.
The joy I'm speaking of, is the satisfaction of knowing that no matter from what point on the road of growth and life you are beginning your journey, you don't have to stay there. You aren't stuck, because of your past or having no power in your life.
Remember, you are loved, you have value, your past doesn't matter and you have the power of decision to determine the direction of your life.
The state of joy consists of two parts:
Philippians 4:11 states; "...for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in". Being content isn't saying that you are satisfied to remain where you are.
Your circumstances may not look good at all. They may be evil or detestable. They may be bland and lacking excitement or they may be good and give you much happiness.
Nevertheless, in each circumstance, being content means you know you have value, you are loved, your past doesn't matter and you have the power of decision to change your circumstances.
Living in a state of joy also involves living a life of gratitude. Hebrews 12:28 states; "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude...".
This was a very hard and important lesson for me. No matter the circumstances you find yourself in, if you look and notice, there is always something you can be grateful for.
You can be grateful for your health, your children, your job, your home, your spouse, the talents you have, the ability to travel...there is always something you can be grateful for.
Gratefulness is one of the most powerful ways to attract blessings. If we have a heart of gratefulness, God knows our hearts are ready to receive more blessing from Him.
If nothing else, you can be thankful and grateful that you have value, you are loved, your past doesn't matter and you have the power of decision.
Remember, this is only the starting point of your journey down the road of growth and life. But, if you begin the journey knowing you aren't broken beyond repair, valueless, unloved, your past doesn't matter and you have the power of decision, your self-erected boundaries of limitation will be demolished.
With those boundaries demolished, you will be in a better position to soar higher in the Fourth Dimension. ©