What is joy?
Joy is defined as a deep feeling or condition of happiness or contentment. Another definition says joy is something causing a feeling of happiness. In other words, joy isn’t the happiness, joy is what causes happiness. Joy is not always feeling happy and pretending life is grand when it stinks. Joy isn’t ignoring life’s hardships, sufferings or trials and tests. Joy is simply something that lives deep within us (planted by God, a fruit of the Spirit) regardless of these things.
1. What (or who) is your source of life?
It can be so easy – in fact it’s probably natural – to seek joy in people or things. Someone makes you happy. Having nice things makes you feel comfortable. This is natural since we are human beings. But if our source of joy is other people, we will flounder to and fro. If our joy relies on the economy or our bank accounts, we are always at the mercy of factors outside our control.
I’ve been having a rough time of it lately, and I often think on this idea. Where does my joy come from? Who do I hope in? If I only hope in what I can do for myself I’m left feeling helpless. Yes, I’m a capable person. But there are times in life when we are not able to do bring ourselves joy. This is why it’s so important we have a fountain inside.
2. Can you rely on it during hard times?
John 16:33 tells us that trouble will come our way. Although it does seem to happen on occasion (I’m told) we can’t anticipate a long-term smooth ride. Because of that we need joy and faith to fall back on. For some people the holidays are a tough time. The worst time of year, even. It can be a reminder of loss, loneliness, and pain. Can you identify the thing that most brings you security and comfort?
Personally, I want to say that it’s God 100%, but that’d be a lie. While I do have abiding hope and faith in Him, I often look to other situations and people to help me feel okay. To help me feel happy. While other people and things surely do have a role to play in our own happiness and contentment, our abiding sense of “okay-ness” must be deeper than that.
3. Is it focused on others in a good way?
The holiday season is a great time to think not only about your own family, but about others. About those who may not have a wellspring of joy. Those who are going through a Christmas after a death. Those without family, friends or loved ones near them. Or at all. Though it seems counterintuitive, joy is often found more in what we can do for others. I love getting something I’ve been waiting for, but it’s a totally different type of joy than the one that comes from doing something eternal and significant for someone else.
Being an encouragement when they are down. Providing a need when they are unable to do so themselves. If we see joy as something that comes to us as a result of our circumstances, our moods will change with the tides.
4. How to strike a balance
Even though we won’t find lasting joy in things, we can still use things, people and circumstances to bring joy to others. Acts of service to others and gifts aren’t just superficial. A gift can show someone that you were thinking about them. A gift shows you are willing to take the time and energy to do something specifically for them. In fact, gifts are even a love language, so they are obviously powerful.
So while it’s not a great idea to find our source of joy only in what others do for us, we can surely find joy in giving to others. To that end, today on the blog we are doing a massive giveaway of over $1800 in prizes. Stuff for kids, friends, women, and men. If you win this you could bless many many people this season! You could wipe out half the people on your Christmas list in one go :)
See below for chances to enter!
Sharing the Joy of the Season from Festive Family Bloggers
Joyful Christmas Crafts for Kids from Handmade Kids Art
Sharing Joy through a Holiday Giveaway from Kids Yoga Stories
Festive Family Holiday from In the Playroom