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Building Joy

A friend of ours came with us to visit our son this week at the residential care facility he is at. As he was interacting with him, I noticed something about our friend...

I noticed joy.

It was in his voice, in his actions, in his smile, and reflecting off his face. It was pretty amazing to see. And I believe that my son responded well to him because of the joy he carried. And one thing I knew as I left the meeting; I want more of that kind of joy in my life.

I’m learning that there is a profound difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is dependent on circumstances and joy is not. Joy also has to do with relationships, whether with God or our closest family and friends. Joy will come as we build these relationships and develop more intimacy.

A quote from a book I’m reading about joy called How To Grow Joy (by Marcus Warner).

The Greek words for joy and grace are very similar. Grace is charis. Joy is chara. I believe this is because grace is the source of joy. Grace means that God accepts us as we are because of Christ. His acceptance of us is not determined by our performance, but by our positions in Christ.

This means that God is happy to see us whether we are failing or succeeding, whether we have been defeated or are walking victoriously. The result is that we can find joy in the presence of God regardless of our circumstance.(1)

I love that Marcus Warner calls God a “happy-to-see-you-God.” God is always happy to see us. Always, even when we are a mess. I also believe the more joy we have, the more strength we will have for the difficult things in life (the joy of the Lord is our strength.- Neh. 8:10).

Some tips for building joy:

  1. Spend time with your Father who is always “Happy-to-see-you.”
  2. Love people deeply, and spend time with those people who are always glad to be with you, no matter what.
  3. Gratitude journaling - spending time writing down what you are grateful for (another idea is to play a worship song while you are journaling, writing down the words or whatever the Holy Spirit is saying to you through the song).
  4. Schedule times of rest (and then actually rest).
  5. Ask God to start you on the journey of healing emotional wounds from the past.

What is the most important thing about developing joy?

Start spending more and more time in God’s presence and your joy will start spilling out all over…I’m beginning to experience the truth of this statement and I am so excited about it.

A favorite verse about joy:

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. - Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

This is my prayer for all of us; that we would find “fullness of joy.” Only God can give us joy that is complete.

I was listening to a song this week by Bethel Music and Kristene DiMarco called “It Is Well.” Listening to the words and focusing on God opened the flood gates of joy in my soul. It was amazing and I’m so grateful for the Holy Spirit. I was able to look above my painful circumstances and look at God and remember what he has done for me; sending Jesus to the cross to take the punishment I deserved.

And I can truly say, no matter what, it is well with my soul.

Click on the picture below to hear the song, “It Is Well.”

Praise the Lord.

Lord, I’m so grateful for the transforming work you are doing in my life, and so grateful for the gift of joy. I’m so thankful you are always “happy-to-see-me.” Amen.

 

Source:

"How To Grow Joy," by Marcus Warner. Deeper Walk International, 2011. Westfield, IN, pg. 9.

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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