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Melissa N Smith: Framed In Joy

Framed In Joy: An Introduction

framed in joy life in christ perspective

Years ago in a season of difficulty, God dropped a thought in my mind. I was sitting at an 8 top round table at a church meeting I didn’t really want to attend. Hiding in the corner of the room, I was mulling over potential titles for a website I hoped to start. At the time, photography was my favorite hobby, and I had purchased a new camera I was still adjusting to. With pictures rolling around in my head and a deep longing for joy, the words dropped into my mind. I could literally see them - a beautiful scripted font. 

I think in pictures. Maybe it’s my dyslexic brain or maybe my love of visual art. I process the world in pictures. Sitting in the darkest, most uninspiring youth room I’ve ever been in, trying for the life of me to hide from the people and expectations surrounding me, God wrote words on my heart: Framed in Joy.

I say up straight in my chair. When I taught high school over a century ago, I occasionally would amuse myself by calling on the sleepiest, least attentive student. I didn’t even have to use my big voice, just their name with intention. They would snap to attention, sit straight up, and look around wide-eyed and expectant. You could see the question on their face, “What? Me?”

That was me - upright in a squeaky plastic chair. I sat fully awake and orienting myself to this new idea - Framed in Joy. What if all of life had a frame around it? 

We know frames highlight pictures and art. A frame brings perspective and highlights the beauty of the work, the intention of the artist. A bad frame can cause the viewer to miss the details or skip the painting all together. It can diminish the beauty and value of the art. 

We live in a world framed by many things, but not joy.

We’ve lost who we are.

We’re confused about truth.

We no longer know what is beautiful or good.

We run directionless but long for purpose.

We stay busy but not fruitful.

We work without rest, and rest without ever feeling refreshed.

We carry gifts, skills, and abilities with no idea how to enjoy them.

We’ve forgotten how to enjoy God.

My life needs a frame, a perspective that helps me see. My vision is distorted, just like yours. I came into the world that way; you did too. We get a lot wrong: our identities, love, truth, purpose, and even God. With so much gone askew, we need help to get back on track. A frame does that in the same way glasses sharpen our view. A frame of joy changes our perspective, roots us in purpose, focuses our hearts and minds, and creates balance in a world of chaos. 

That’s a tall order for a frame, right? The problem is we have been fed a lie about joy. You’ve seen it on bumper stickers and on mugs - “Choose Joy!” Surrounded by rainbows and bright colors, this slogan tells us to slap on a smile, pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, and be grateful. Here, joy is our responsibility - a choice we make. If you lack joy, it’s your fault. Ouch.

Yet, I believe joy isn’t a choice. Joy resides in the heart of God, so when we live in Christ, we live in joy – unspeakable and full of glory. A life framed in joy is a life lived on purpose with purpose as we enjoy God, cultivate our gifts, and use them to point others to our God of joy. Joy, in this frame, has an unending source - God. Rain or shine, good or bad, our lives stay rooted in God. He frames us in joy.

With a frame of joy anchored in God, we can…

…remember who we were designed to be.

…walk confidently in the truth.

…face challenges with unshakable hope.

…see and savor the good and beautiful.

…live with purpose and intention.

…work freely trusting God to produce fruit.

…balance work and rest as a natural gift of God’s grace.

…grow in wisdom as we hone our gifts and use them for His glory.

…delight in our Creator and the community He has placed us in.

I talk a lot about creativity, calling, and cultivating joy. The frame for each is Christ. In Him, we live and move and have our being. When we start with Christ, joy will become a part of who we are and flow into and out of everything we do.

This sounds very pie in the sky and impractical, but at Framed in Joy it is my aim to serve you with practical resources and encouragement you can implement from Day One. We learn and grow in Christ together, in community, and one step at a time.

We will enjoy God simply and privately.

We will glorify Him as we cultivate and use our gifts.

We will share Him as we serve others with our gifts.

From practical resources to truth-filled articles to individual coaching, I link arms with you. Let’s learn to live joyfully on purpose and with purpose by His grace.

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Coaching is an opportunity to cultivate a life of joy in Christ, rich relationships with others, and meaningful work woven into your day.

I help you cultivate a life of joy as you identify your core values, invest in relationships that matter, and create routines that allow space in your life to pursue God’s purposes and your dreams.

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