What brings me joy from the depths of my heart? Here’s a partial list.
- in the approaching dawn hours of the night when the flow of my laptop screen weakly illuminates my keyboarding fingers as I give free reign to the thoughts in my head. Especially when what has kept me awake or awakened me is a call to prayer.
- when I am reading and studying the Word of God and He opens my mind to His understanding.
- catching a glimpse of Heaven.
- when my husband and I hold hands when going about our lives…for example, in church as we gather with other Believers to worship, in the car as we ride down the road, watching a television show or movie together, and in the time we are asleep and we reach for one another’s hand.
- hearing the laughter of our daughter.
- listening to my husband sing bass in the worship team on Sunday mornings.
- good chocolate.
- being in the midst of our nieces and nephews.
- being caught up in the creative process of drawing, painting, crafting, writing.
- breathing in the ocean breeze as I enjoy being beachside in the fall and winter months.
- paying our bills.
- cooking and baking.
- reading a good book.
The older I get, the less my true joy stems from materialistic things. When people ask, “What do you want for _______________”? I realize anew that there’s not really anything I want, nothing you can purchase online or in the store, wrap and tie up with a bow. Things are easily broken, wear out, can be stolen, lost or outgrown.
Instead joy, for me, is pure abandonment of want and being fully open to the presence of God in the moment I am living at that time. It is the realization that at that time my heart and soul have been flooded with the perfect love of God and His blessings. This joy is the complete, absolute of God’s love, provision and care for me and my family.
Where does your joy come from? What is the source of it?
- romantic love?
- being with a group of family or friends?
- retail therapy?
- your job?
- your paycheck?
- your success?
Maybe your list is a bit similar to mine. Maybe it is totally different. Maybe you can list what brings joy to your heart without much thought. Maybe you need time to let the question simmer on the back-eye of the stove for a while. Neither way is right or wrong.
Joy does not come only in the good times. It comes also after times of hardship, disappointment and when we know we have given the Lord a reason to be angry with us.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:4-5The Holy Bible New International Version, 1973, 1978. Zondervan Publishing Corporation.
Life does not always present joy to us in a pretty package and decorated with beautiful ribbon and bows. I have come to appreciate that joy has little to do with the circumstances of my life in the moment. Joy comes from perspective. A shift in how we are viewing the events going on in our lives allows the before unseen joys to take the spotlight.
For joy is also given as a fruit of the Spirit as Galatians 5:22 tells us.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22 (Italics mine.)The Holy Bible New International Version, 1973, 1978. Zondervan Publishing Corporation.
Joy also arrives when life has given us reason to be anxious. Being a Christian does not mean we do not experience painful things, know disappointment and must learn to trust God in the times it is most difficult.
18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 94:18-19 (Italics mine)The Holy Bible New International Version, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Publishing Corporation.
My prayer for you today is that you will experience joy throughout your day and its source is our shared Lord and Savior.