Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pursuing Joy

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. Php 4:8-9

I don’t understand it. I built my practice; and raised my kids, and bought my lake house, and served as chief of staff, and published my research, and led the church through a building project, and remarried, and learned to wind surf, and wrote my novel, and weathered the recession and looked much better than my friends at our high school reunion. Why aren’t I happy?

A couple of years ago, when CMDA examined the absence of joy in the lives of many Christian doctors, we surveyed many of our leaders in community medicine and dentistry with the question, “Where have you found joy in your lives, both in your practices and outside of your practice?” Over two hundred doctors responded. We collated the answers and discovered five pathways toward joy that were consistently mentioned by many doctors. The importance of these pathways is that these have been proven in the lives of doctors to pave the way toward joy. If you are missing true joy in your life, you are likely to find it down one of these pathways and unlikely to find it if you travel in other directions.

If you wish to find joy in your life, other Christian doctors have found it in lasting ways through:

Service: serving patients out of love, regardless of their status; such service is often diluted by the ways we have chosen to practice.

Relationships: relationships with patients, colleagues, family and students; such relationships are often diminished by the rush to achieve.

Devotion: devotion to our Lord with an abiding relationship; this devotion is often stolen by our hurried lives.

Missions: domestic and international missions; these missions are often denied because of sacrifice rejected.

Personal growth: living out the heart desires that God has given us - in His way, for His glory; such God given desires are often ignored because we choose other rewards.

Much more can be said about each, but the importance today is that we use them to examine the way we do life. Does the way we spend our time and money place us on these pathways toward joy? Are we seeking joy down paths that lead only to diversion? What changes do I need to make in my life and practice to place me on these pathways? What do I need to let go of in order to pursue joy?

Dear God,
Please help me examine my life and find joy in the places You have prepared for me. Let me first seek You and then travel the paths You have chosen to grow your Kingdom. Amen

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