JOY on the Ride of Life! {a God-sized dreams post}

JOY on the ride of life www.TeriLynneUnderwood.comWith the abandon rarely found as we get older, my daughter and her friend raced to the kiddie coaster at a local park.  They jumped on board and with arms raised high the laughed and screamed as the ride twisted and turned.  I lost count of how many times the went around the tracks as the spring sun shone through the green trees.  I took three hundred pictures of these two girls, caught between childhood and adolescence.   Eyes sparkling, faces beaming, they rode the coaster, the carousel, and the train with such exuberance.

As I looked back through those photos, now almost a year after they were taken, I wondered what happens to us as we get older.  When is it that the busy-ness and business of life overcomes us and we stop finding joy in living?  At what point do we lose our zeal for life and replace it with the urgency of getting things done?  

Over the past few years the Lord has taught me some valuable lessons about the life He has planned for me.  He’s invited me to slow, to embrace simplicity, and this year, He’s encouraging me to listen.

We have a quote hanging on our wall, “Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”  It’s almost become a cliche’, but the truth behind it isn’t trite.  In fact, it’s one of the hardest lifestyle choices we can make.  To measure our life’s success by moments not accomplishments and to embrace God’s promise of abundance instead of the world’s definition of success is a daily struggle between flesh and spirit.

Today, Holley asked us to share what gives us joy.  As I considered that question, a hundred images shot through my mind … laughing with my daughter, dancing with my husband, volunteering my time, the dog snoring, cupcakes, coffee with my favorite creamer, a special trip, a newborn’s smile, cousins, beach balls in the sky, snow on the mailbox … and I realized maybe I’m learning after all.


One of my favorite books of the New Testament is Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi.  In the fourth chapter, he writes these words:

Always be full of joy in the Lord.  I say it again—rejoice!  {Philippians 4:4 NLT}

Some days my life is pretty average.  And there have been seasons when I have faced great trials and grief.  There are exciting times when I see God fulfilling promises and hopes I’ve long held dear.   The older I get the more I understand the perspective Paul had,

… for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or litte.  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.  For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. {Philippians 4:10-13 NLT}

Joy, I’m finding, is about obedience, about contentment, about faith.  The deeper I draw into the Father’s love, the greater is the joy I find there.  The more faithfully I pursue His desires for my life, the richer my joy in chasing my dreams.  The less I strive to do, the sweeter the is the contentment of simply being in His presence. That, I’m learning, is true joy.

What brings you joy?


Wondering what all this God-sized dream talk is about?  Holley Gerth explains that a God-sized dream is simply “a desire in your heart for more of what God has for you.”  Doesn’t that sound amazing?  I think so too.  That’s why I’m thrilled be a part of the God-Sized Dreams Team … and I’m linking this post up with Holley and a bunch of other beautiful dreamers.  Will you join us? 

And, because Holley is so amazing, she wrote a book just to encourage all of us God-sized dreamers.   You will want to read it … again and again.  It’s filled with nuggets of wisdom, words of inspiration, and the genuine love for others that Holley exudes with her whole life.  So, go now, get You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You. I promise, you’ll be so glad you did!


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Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


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