The reward of choosing joy is joy itself...There is so much rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the midst of all suffering, life becomes celebration. Joy never denies the sadness, but transforms it to a fertile soil for more joy. Henri Nouwen in The Return of the Prodigal SonAs a little girl and a teen and a young adult, I would describe joy as a "sunny side up" attitude. If I did not feel joy, I thought, 'well, let me just put on a happy face.'
Guess what - that happy face did not translate into joy. I learned throughout my episodes of disappointments, pain, hurt, rejection, and fatigue, that joy could actually reside inside of me. Joy in my heart, like a soft yolk ('over easy') inside a solidly cooked outer egg white, holds its own no matter what my circumstances.
What does joy look like?
I discovered a true and encouraging word in the midst of a discouraging time in my life when fear seemed too entrenched to be dislodged from the soil of my heart. I read in Zechariah 3:14-15, 17 that I can have joy and rejoice because the Lord has forgiven me and He rejoices and sings over me!
Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your judgments...The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”My perspective changed over time as I believed the truth. I became a joy-seeker; living with a joy reservoir that refilled when I accessed and shared joy.
When I am overwhelmed, heartsick, or in circumstances that press on evey side, in His Light, Grace, and Love, I find joy.
In the middle of messiness, relationally, physically, emotionally, I will seek a frame through which joy peeks out - sometimes gratitude brings that joy. At other times, singing against the whining brings the joy. I go after joy with all of my heart, spirit and senses.
Joy did not come easily, but it has come - I serve it up for myself by grace!
What is your joy story? Share with the folks a Faith Barista's Thursday Jam