Increase Your Joy In One Easy Step.

*If you’re in a hurry for joy, skip to the challenge at the bottom.

Orange Tree

Photo Credit: Creative Commons amycgx

Yesterday, I prayed with an elderly, black woman in the foyer of busy Goodwill store, out loud.

I’m still shaking my head about it because I am not the woman who prays in public with strangers, because it looks Christiany and weird. But that’s what happens when you let Jesus have his way with you. He messes with who you think you are.

Ever since I posted about Susie Davie giving her Coach purse away, I’ve been thinking about actively bearing fruit. As I walked into Goodwill, I noticed a woman slumping in a plastic chair and leaning on her cane.

“You should talk to her,” popped into my head, but I ignored it because I mind my own business, especially when I have something more important to do – like scour Goodwill for bargains. Plus, I could tell, she’s the kind that would hold me up. So I ignored her sad face and went in the store. Forty five minutes later, I walked out and she was still sitting there.

“Are you waiting for a ride?” I asked.

“No, I’m just resting. I think I’m a little stressed out,” she said launching into a story about her son and the girlfriend, and the drinking and the fight and the baby and the long walk after she kicked him out of the car.

“Mmmm…family,” I said, listening and deciding what to do next. Offering to pray for her occurred to me but I was afraid to.

“I just trust Jesus about it,” she said giving me the permission I was clearly looking for.

“Would you like me to pray with you?”

“Oh yes I would.”

So I sat down next to her holding my Goodwill bag and prayed. I was nervous that Sam would pull up just then and ask what I was doing, but for the most part I spoke in the same way, to the same God I talk to every day in the quiet privacy of my office.

The thing is, Jesus has no interest in staying in the quiet privacy of my office. He said the world is in sick, sad shape and he’s the answer, so go tell people about it, help them, encourage them and not just in places where it won’t look weird.

Why am I so afraid of that? Why am I so afraid people will think I am a Jesus Freak? I am.

Jesus helped me with depression. He helped me with anxiety. He helped me write a book. He helped me not worry about money when we had no jobs in Texas. He helped me believe that I am here for a reason that’s bigger than I can imagine.

Why would I hide loving a man like that?

In case you’re wondering, I am not one bit holier today than I was yesterday in Goodwill, I’m just a little less selfish and a tiny bit braver. Because of that, I am demonstrably more joyful today.

*So here’s the challenge: Sometime this weekend, do something selfless for a stranger, something that interrupts you for a minute or two and surprises them with its kindness. Report back, I’d love to hear what happens.

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