But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Psalm 68:3

Our Network theme for 2017 is SHINE! One of the best ways we as ministers and leaders can SHINE BRIGHTLY, is by having a JOY-FILLED attitude and spirit. In talking with people and observing great ministry leaders, I have found JOY is a key ingredient in effective and impacting ministry. It is an amazing counter to the dark, drab and depressing spirit that is so common in our communities today.

Recently my friend and ministry coach, Greg Salciccioli, from Coachwell, shared 4 Keys to a Joy-Filled Life. Here is a summary of his thoughts, plus some added scripture references that I think we can all grow from.

Four Keys to a Joy-filled Life

1. Let Laughter Chase Away Tension
Proverbs 15:13 (ESV) A glad heart makes a cheerful face…
A good belly laugh does wonders to release the tension that builds up in our life. As Kathryn Hepburn once said, “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” Let’s learn to laugh more at life.

2. Learn to Forgive Daily, Especially Yourself
Colossians 3:13 …bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” This means forgiveness is always a choice. When we talk about forgiveness, it isn’t always toward other people. Sometimes it’s for ourselves first. Walking in forgiveness can change us from the inside out. Without it, we harbor a heavy burden of resentment that none of us can bear.

3. Stay Connected and Learn the Warning Signs of Isolation
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…
Isolation is one of the primary threats to leading a joy-filled, healthy life. Without the encouragement from the key people in our life, we are left vulnerable to discouragement. If you find yourself consistently dwelling on negative thoughts, you need the perspective of someone else to help you regain your sense of identity. As George Eliot says: “Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.”

4. Make Fasting from Technology a Regular Habit to Create Times of Solitude
1 Peter 3:4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Back away from the computer screen. Breathe. Read and reflect. Take time to pray or journal. Give your mind a rest from overstimulation and learn how to relax. We all need solitude. Solitude gives us time to explore who we are and how we feel. Solitude gives us a chance to regain perspective. It renews us for the challenges of life.

Greg proposes that by practicing these four actions on a regular basis, we will feel more energized. My prayer for you as a pastor, minister or leader, is that you will live a joy-filled life. Keep shining brightly!