Joy In The Simple Things

What makes you happy?

Is it your career, your friends, family, the sun, a good night’s sleep even?

There’s a whole bunch of things that you can try and build around yourself to increase your happiness and often it comes with the expectation that it all has to be perfect. According to a recent study done at Princeton University, it’s said that a person can’t be truly happy unless they earn a salary of at least $75,000 per year (£58,485/R981,480). Now, if I’m not mistaken, that’s actually a lot of money – more than the average person would earn anyway! So does that mean that I can’t be happy or show any signs of pure joy because I don’t have enough money to put a smile on my face?! I know I’m no scientist or epic researcher but I’m pretty certain that statistics like that are wrong. 

When you experience true joy, there’s nothing like it. There is this feeling inside of you that is completely unexplainable; it is an incredible affair. And I have found that it is made up of so many independent elements – it’s never just one thing that makes me joyful. But joy is different for everyone, so how can there be an algorithm for how to get happy? I know that a career won’t make me really happy but for some, they thrive. 

Yet, what if I told you that I knew where you could find joy. A joy that would be unique to you and would fill you right to the core? A smile would light up your face often and tears of laughter would run down your cheeks rather than tears of sadness. That’s what I want in any case! And the best part? You can get it for free! I know, that sells anything to anyone these days. 

It says in Psalm 34 vs 5, “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” The definition of radiant is: shining or glowing brightly. And apparently a glowing complexion is quite desirable. 

I Peter 1 vs 8 says, “you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” If anyone says they don’t want to feel that, they’re probably lying because that sounds pretty awesome.

There is something about having an encounter with God that fills me to the core with such a joy that I physically cannot stop laughing. Like, belly laughing. And I can’t explain what’s going on inside. It’s just God making me happy!

Feeling that joy for myself makes me want to see everyone else feel the way I do because there’s honestly nothing better. No career, no amount of money, no relationship will make you feel as happy as God will. Moreover, if you want it, all you have to do is ask for it. It’s as easy as that. He wants to give you this “inexpressible and glorious joy” because it’s His desire to see His children happy. I’ll take it any day.

So if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the corner laughing…

Easter Camp 2017

For all of you beady eyed readers out there, you would have noticed that I didn’t manage to post last Wednesday. Honestly, I know that any excuse I give will not mean anything to you, but I was not as organised as usual and I had to pack for Easter Camp, get a few last things done for work and then go out to the campsite for the leaders’ braai. I know, I know… I could have written a post beforehand and scheduled it to go up but that just seemed like too much effort! 

So this week, I know I have to make it up to you all. Which means you will want to see pictures, which I have (makes a change!).

Over the weekend, I was at Easter Camp, which is basically what it says on the tin, if you weren’t quite sure what it was. But if you are still confused as to what it is, it is a camp for young people to go to, where they will encounter God over the Easter weekend. I had the privilege of being a leader and on the worship team and I feel so blessed to have gotten to know the people I did and build new friendships with God at the very centre. 

Before I go any further, I would just like to mention how special the worship team have become to me. Over the past few months as we have been preparing for the camp, valuable friendships have been made and I treasure each one of you. You make me very happy and I am going to miss spending my Monday evenings worshiping with you all. 

But getting back to the point – the question you will all be asking is, “did God move?” And I can answer whole-heartedly with YES. So many young people gave their lives to God, encountered the Holy Spirit for the first time and were able to forgive where they have been wanting to for so long. The only real words I have to describe what happened are these: it was so evident that there is a loving Father who cares for His children, filling them with peace and joy so they are overflowing. I just want to honour Jen (the camp speaker) for really listening to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to do what He wanted to do, even if it meant doing things a little bit differently. It meant that God was able to speak into lives and move like I haven’t seen Him move for a long time. 

Although the campers were able to meet with God powerfully, it has to be said that it was in no way just for the campers. There were many leaders at the camp, including myself, who could share testimonies at the end of how God broke in and impacted our lives. Personally, I have never felt as much joy as I did over this weekend; I have never been able to dance and I have always felt so trapped when it came to letting go and just having fun with dancing. But now I can’t stop moving and there is a fresh sense of joy running through my veins that surpasses all understanding, and no, I haven’t been able to stop laughing. It has made me feel truly alive – it is something I pray that all of the people around me will be able to experience too.

I won’t carry on for much longer because I understand that reading long blog posts can be quite a challenge! But before I go I want to thank the people that worked so hard to make Easter Camp possible and let them know that they are well and truly appreciated by all that came into contact with you. 

Happy Birthday To Me!

Over the weekend, I celebrated my 19th birthday. Now, I know that the first question on everyone’s lips will be “did you take any pictures at all?” And you will all be very pleased to know that there are hundreds – well that’s what it seems like anyway. So, today’s post will be a run down of all that I did to celebrate my birthday here in South Africa.

Friday 31st March
Youth was cancelled on Friday night as it was the first night of the Easter holidays, but instead the guys arranged for there to be an Alice in Wonderland themed Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for me so that the kids could get involved in the partying. I have to say, the cakes were all very tasty and I very much enjoyed having a bit of fun with all of the kids at youth. It felt very special, actually.

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Saturday 1st April
No, I am not joking. My birthday is definitely on April Fool’s Day. Very unfortunate, I know. 
I was treated to breakfast in bed – first win of the day. I don’t know what it is about other people making your breakfast for you (marmite on toast and a cup of tea, if anyone is wondering) and bringing it in to you just as you wake up, but it makes it all taste so much better. That’s definitely a tradition I am going to want to keep going. I then got to open my presents as well; I was spoiled rotten!

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Then I got dressed for the day and FaceTimed my parents who were able to send over a package for me back in February. I heard it slosh when I first put it away so I was praying that there was a little bottle of Plymouth gin in there. It was either that or they were playing a very cruel joke on me, which I wouldn’t put past them to be honest. Luckily my prayers were answered!

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After I had finished talking to my parents and my brother, I got that we were going to take a trip to the beach so that I could have a swim on my birthday, something I have never been able to do before this year as it has always been waaaay too cold. It was a really nice day so Chloe and Brogan managed to get a bit of a tan. Literally nothing happened to me – I am still as pale as a ghost. Maybe translucent is a better word to use here? 

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Wakaberry was our next stop. For those of you who have no clue what this is, it sells frozen yogurt where you can add toppings and it’s quite nice. But this was a very quick stop off because I had an appointment at the tattoo parlour to go and get my second tattoo! It is Morse code for hope.

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By the time I had got that done, we were all famished and were in desperate need of some really nice lunch, so we made our way to Sanook. As usual, I had a pizza which was absolutely delicious. And as it was my birthday, I thought I would treat myself to a cocktail. I mean, why not?!

Once we eventually got home it was 4pm and I was shattered. After a brief time of chilling out, Chlo told me that I must go and get ready for a little party they were planning. It was so nice to see some friends and braai with a G&T in hand. And the cake was flipping tasty too!

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All in all, my South African birthday will be one that I look back on fondly and I just want to say thank you to everyone who made it so special.