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Don't Give Away Your Joy
By Joel Osteen - Dec 06, 2013
One time Victoria and I were at Disneyland with our children. It was ten o'clock at night and we'd been at the park all day long. As we were leaving, Victoria wanted to go into the gift shop with our son, Jonathan, and pick up a few souvenirs. I was carrying our daughter, Alexandra who was two years old at the time and was asleep on my shoulder. I was hot, tired, and had been walking around all day. I said, "Victoria, no, I don't want to stop at this gift shop." She said, come on, Joel, it's just going to take me a minute." I said, "All right." And I went out and sat on the bench at the entryway to the park.

It just so happened there was a big clock up in front of me. I waited five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes. When you're the one waiting, things seem to take so much longer. And the longer I waited, the more frustrated I got. I not only gave away my joy, I gave away my peace, my strength—everything I had! I was hot and Alexandra was making me more hot as I was holding her. What was my big problem? Did I have a major accident? Did I lose my job? No, I just had to wait an extra half hour at Disneyland.

I got up off that bench, went in the gift shop, and said, "Victoria, that's it. I've had it. I'm going to the car. Just meet me there." She said, "No, no, Joel, wait. We're just about to check out." I said, "No, I'm tired, Victoria, I'm going to go to the car." I knew I should have waited for her but I was just too irritated. When we're upset, stressed, and frustrated, we just don't make good decisions.

Now, I got on the tram, still carrying Alexandra, and took the 15 minute ride to the parking lot. The only problem was that I couldn't remember where we had parked. We were driving a white rental car. Do you know how many white rental cars there are at Disneyland in the summer? I bet there's 10,000! I went up and down, aisle after aisle, after aisle. So tired and sweaty. Finally, I had to do what no grown man likes to do. I had to go to the tram station and say, "I can't find my car." I might as well have said, "I'm a loser." There was an older man there and he was very friendly. He said, "Oh, don't worry about it. I'll help you. Did you park in the Mickey and Friends parking lot? Or did you park in the Lion King parking lot?" I said, "I have no idea." He said, "Well, did you see Mickey Mouse when you drove in? Or did you see Simba?" I said, "I don't know who Simba is." He said, "Do you know who Donald Duck is?"

Long story short, I had parked on the other side of Disneyland. I had to get back on the tram. Go back to where I started, and catch another tram. An hour later, I showed up at the car. Little Jonathan was about five. He came running out. "Daddy, daddy, where have you been?" I thought, "I'll never tell." I learned my lesson. Number one, be patient. Number two, let Victoria shop as much as she wants to shop. Number three, don't give away your joy!

 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17, KJV).
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