WARNING: Joy Ahead.

Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up. ~Proverbs 12:25

I always expected this cheerful word to come from someone else. And many times it has. I am extremely grateful for all the friendship gifts in my life. But what if this joy word was a writing exercise where I put into practice the word joy?

Worries can take me to mental journeys that are never actually real-ities. I spend precious mental energy fretting over what ifs, and I end up missing present moments–moments that are presents, sent straight from my God to me. Then this happened.

This past fall I was invited to South Carolina to be a bridesmaid for a dear friend‘s wedding. I had health worries, flight worries, friend worries. Out. the. wazoo. As I sat praying, journaling, and wondering about this opportunity, this is what came out. It’s a warning of possible side effects, like on a prescription medication. Except I ended up turning my worries upside down into possible joyful outcomes.

WARNING: Getting on this plane may cause immense joy in that book you have been saving for your flight. It is possible that a joy increase may occur once you reach your destination. In extreme cases, you may have the urge to jump up and down and run when you see your friend waiting at the airport. Possible side effects of taking this flight may include but are not limited to: head rush of extreme happiness, sore cheeks from smiling, shortness of breath from laughing, tanning freckling of skin, sore throat from singing, pain in the leg muscles from dancing all night, salt water tingle on your toes, loss of sleep, and gaining 543 pounds worth of facebook friends. In extreme but rare cases, taking this type of flight has been known to have the effect of finding your future husband. Be forewarned, this may or may not happen to you. When choosing this type of flight, make sure you are fully equipped with extra bobby pins, lip gloss, sunscreen, and Jesus. It is recommended that you avoid all negative people, destructive thought patterns, and fears while taking this trip. Never stop taking a flight in mid air at any time. Talk to your trust friend today to decide if this airplane flight is right for you.

After I did this, my thoughts began to transform. I started to use my creative imagination to think about the trip as an opportunity to have fun instead of worrying and what-if-ing myself into a tizzy. So I took that adventure to South Carolina! It wasn’t perfect, nor did it turn out exactly like I imagined. But it was surely beautiful. I decided to listen to my heart, acknowledge my fears, but not serve them. Because I am a servant of One.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. ~Ephesians 3:20

If I would have stayed home, I would have only known my fears. But this simple yet profound writing exercise caused courage to stir in me. So I flew into the unknown, and came back knowing unexpected joy.

What if every time we worry, we take ten minutes to write a joy warning? 

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