“Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11 1995 NASB
“My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel have little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” Russell M. Nelson
Obviously, we must be with people, do some work and take on some tasks that do not bring us joy or happiness for that matter. However, sometimes the efforts do bring joy. Starting a new business, raising children, training a puppy and defending the vulnerable are examples of joy that comes from effort and focus.
Today I cleaned my closet, drawers and other clutter. I asked myself, “Does this bring you joy?” Many items are no longer here. Some I gifted to others like my music box collection. That brought me joy. Pants that are too tight that I think I’ll wear someday when I lose a few pounds do not bring me joy. They’re outta here! My mother’s earrings are not pierced, and I wear pierced ones. With very little effort and supplies, I converted them to pierced. Joy every time I wear them because of the good memories of my mom.
Meeting and helping people who have recently lost a loved one does not immediately bring me joy. The young ones who’ve lost a parent or those who’ve lost a child are tough! Because I’ve been there, I know the depth, torment and shock they are experiencing. Helping them navigate the rocky ground and tidal waves of grief with some peace and affection gives me some joy. I’ve seen them do the same for others—even more joy. The circumstances are an abyss of pain. But joy is there. We aren’t thankful for the circumstances but we are thankful in the circumstances.
Many left their addictions behind. Were they joyful? Probably not for quite a time. But when I hear and read their recovery stories with pictures, what a blessing! Eventually, they radiate joy, especially to others fighting addictions.
Many of you left toxic relationships. It probably tore you to pieces. Do you have some peace and joy now? Breathing room? New confidence?
Joy may be delayed. It’s totally worth it. It’s solid. It’s permanent. Gift of grace.
Happiness is highly overrated. It’s fleeting. It’s caused, usually, by something outside of us like an award, trophy, raise, new house or car but it’s fleeting. The car and house get old. The trophies and awards collect dust. They’re not permanent. We all know finances can turn on a dime (no pun intended) and may not be something we can control.
Becoming a Christian may not bring immediate joy but it will–Beyond your imagination. Joy is yours in spite of the circumstances. Joy will show in your face, heart and life. Our Father very rarely brings immediate results. He’s working on our character first.
So much of life could be enJOYable if we asked ourselves, “Does this bring me joy?” From cleaning a stuffed closet to letting go of toxic people, addictions and situations and placing our focus upward and outward is the start of joy. Joy is a master teacher. Joy teaches us to place our focus on the Big Picture and others.
Joy seems so absent for many. It’s hard to be joyful when struggling with grief or fear. Teach us that love and trust are the building blocks of joy. Show us how the little, everyday things are cemented in joy. Teach us that “Our joy will not be taken away.”
Your Son was the perfect example of joy. His joy was to serve you. His focus was You. May we follow in his footsteps.