Dwell: Where Joy Dwells

Falling leaves

 

 

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DWELL. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

DWELL

Christmas. Holidays.

Sometimes those words strike fear into the heart of this girl.

Not because of what they mean, but because of what I think they’ll require.

Busy. Preparations. Gifts. Cooking. Oh yeah, and trying to be filled with joy.

The thing is, I can’t really fill myself with lasting joy. Oh, I may be able to for a little while . . . like when I drink a cinnamon latte from one of those little red cups.

But sooner or later, that joy filters out, and stress too often replaces it.

This year, I’ve been thinking about how to do the holidays differently. The biggest thing I can change is where my thoughts—my heart—dwell.

They can focus on everything on my to-do list. The food to buy. The gifts to wrap. The letters to write and send out.

They can focus on getting my kids to concerts, to parties, to activities.

Clouds on the mountain

Or, they can choose the stillness route. And focus on the Lord.

Only as my eyes and my heart and my thoughts are inclined toward the Lord will I be able to dwell in peace. To know His true joy.

And really? That’s what I want the most. To walk in His joy. Dwelling in anticipation of what Jesus’ coming means for all of us.

The gift of salvation. Of freedom.

The gift of being able to dwell face-to-face with Him one day.

So yes, the Christmas chaos is coming. But this year, I am choosing to not get wrapped up in it.

Instead, I’m going to take quiet moments each day. To still my heart. To think on HIm. For my thoughts to dwell on the many gifts Jesus has already given me.

Gathered leaves

His word, His amazing love. His joy.

My family. friends. A passion for writing.

Opportunities to see His fingerprints in my every day.

And the chance to celebrate Jesus and the wonderful gift He’s given us—the gift of His presence each day.

What about you? Where do your thoughts tend to dwell during the weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas? How do you find joy amid the busyness?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung. Check out her post on Five Minute Friday—Dwell

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35 thoughts on “Dwell: Where Joy Dwells

  1. Ah, my thoughts tend to dwell on all I need to do during vacation–instead of just chilling and enjoying vacation. I want to dwell more on God’s gifts this year and less on my busy list (maybe even ditch the busy list). I’m excited that our family will all be together this Christmas–it’s been a year since we’ve all spent time together (and a very difficult year at that!). My prayer is that it’s a time of healing for all of us!

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    • That’s where my thoughts tend to dwell too, Anita. Chillin’? What’s that? 😉 My boys are teaching me how to chill better than I used to. I hope your time with your family all together is wonderful. May you have many moments to just enjoy your husband and kids. And yeah, that busy list? It doesn’t all have to be done. 🙂

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  2. The Lord has been speaking to me about the importance of choosing to put my focus on Him in every moment. Thick-headed human that I am, it’s a tough lesson. I think I’ve “got it.” My eyes slide away and I wind up in a ditch every time. Thankfully, and to His everlasting praise, He is so very forgiving.

    And Christmas…I love Christmas! It’s my favorite holiday. Last year I was stuck in the hospital and then in recovery at home, so I’m excited to decorate and bake and all of it. But I’m also excited to re-read Asheritah’s “Unwrapping the Names of Jesus” devotional throughout Advent. I want my mind to be drenched in Him.

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    • I have to choose to focus my eyes on Jesus too, Marie. Maybe the key for us is to refuse to ever think, “I’ve got this now.” 😉

      Christmas is a wonderful holiday. We have a lot of family traditions that make it special for our family. I hope you back to your heart’s content and stay healthy so you can truly be in each moment of celebrating this coming season.

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  3. You said this beautifully, jeanne.

    I suppose I’m lucky – I never really was in a position to ‘do’ a normal Christmas, so mine tend to be focused on the Meaning of the Day. I used to bake cookies, but can no longer eat them, so that’s a bit of a washout.

    I just try to listen to Christmas music on occasion, and remember the Why of the whole thing.

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    • Thanks, Andrew. You are fortunate to be able to not be wrapped up in all the doing of the season, and to focus on the day. There’s something to be said for simple seasons! I’m guessing the Christmas playlists you listen to has some unique songs on it. 🙂 Praying for you, friend.

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  4. Advent is my fave time of the year because it reminds me to slow and dwell in the peace of this season. So much THIS: “Only as my eyes and my heart and my thoughts are inclined toward the Lord will I be able to dwell in peace. To know His true joy.” Yes absolutely! I’m parked in the #13 spot this week

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  5. Jeanne,
    oh I love to dwell in the delight of Christmas! The lights, the music, the memories of time with my family. That’s the best part as an adult is the gathering. And we usually gather where my loved ones dwell. 🙂
    But, in my daily life with a new job, I’ve been catching myself dwelling where I should only be stepping. And, it’s because my steps haven’t been smooth. I’m tripping and falling, and then dwelling in those missteps instead of rising and walking toward my dwelling place-my final dwelling place. That resting place, which you mention.
    “Or, they can choose the stillness route. And focus on the Lord.” 🙂 Thanks for another wonderful post, sweet friend!
    Love,
    Tammy
    (#15 this time at FMF)

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    • Oh Tammy, the first year of teaching is so, so HARD. There’s no way around it. Don’t lose heart. I’ve been there. You will survive. Take one day at a time, and remember God’s grace is enough for you,the mistakes you make and the starting again that you do.

      And yes, step through the mistakes, don’t dwell there. I wish i could give you a big hug, friend! If I told you some of the stories from my first year of teaching, you’d get a couple laughs . . . or at least be able to commiserate. 🙂

      Keep walking toward your dwelling place. And remember, your time to gather with loved ones is coming soon! I hope you find moments of stillness in every day, to refresh and strengthen you, my friend. Hugs!

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  6. hi jeanne:) i’m with you. i realize the need for a quiet heart this year vs. one that is focused on a to do list…and the accompanying anxiety. we aren’t traveling this year for a change. that might help some. we’ll see.

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    • We’re not traveling either, Martha. I think (I hope!) that will make it easier to dwell with the Lord daily, rather than the to-do’s that weigh me down. 🙂 May that be so for us both. 🙂

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  7. Yes. Focus is really the thing! I pray this season really works better for you this year and that you find some tactics that help capture more and more of those precious moments of encounter.

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    • Thanks, Ruth. Each year seems a little different with the boys at new ages (every year 🙂 ). But, with them being older, I can take a step back from some of what I have done and either let them do it, or pass on the activity this year. If need be.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  8. I agree, the lead-up to Christmas is a time when there is so much happening and it is easy to get distracted. I also want to keep my focus this year on what it is really all about.

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    • You’re so right, Mary. If we don’t have God’s quiet within us, we’ll never be able to center on Him and focus on the important. I loved your blog too. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by here. 🙂

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  9. I find joy in just being with Him too. Sitting still, reading, making my home a little more beautiful, creating little quiet havens for the family. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today! Ever grateful you stopped by my site today too! Have a beautiful weekend!

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    • Christina, I love that creating beauty helps you stay in the haven God offers each of us. I’m sure your family appreciates the beauty you fill your home with. Thanks so much for stopping over here. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Sarah. It was one of those, “Oh, I think I get it now!” moments when I saw the connection. 🙂 I want to be where joy dwells, where God fills me.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  10. My goal for this Christmas is to balance (ha!) the dwelling in silence and peace and Advent and being excited for presents and Santa and decorating. Especially with littles, there’s a lot of fun in the latter. 😉

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  11. When we get in the car for a 9 hour drive, my thoughts have a chance to unwind and by the time we arrive to be with family, it’s so good to breathe in the same air with them. Thinking about the holidays just makes me smile as have your words today. And I LOVE that photo! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  12. Christmas just seems to sneak up on me each year. I’ve always had the good intentions of giving the birth of Christ the main stage but often fell to the pressures of the season. Before I knew it Christmas Day was ending and I had spent far more time celebrating the “holiday” than I did the “Savior” I’m going to follow your lead this year and make time for quiet moments of reflection and thanksgiving. Thank you Janene.

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    • Gene, I know what you mean about Christmas sneaking up on a person! I’ve gotten to Christmas morning too tired to really enjoy family, and to meditate on what/WHO we’re supposed to be celebrating. I hope you have many beautiful moments of reflecting on our Lord, Gene!

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