A few weeks ago I wrote on sharing in other peoples’ joy and since then God has really put the topic of joy on my heart.
Webster defines joy as: a feeling of great happiness; a source or cause of great happiness: something or someone who gives joy to someone; success in doing, finding, or getting something
I think that definition probably lines up with what most people think joy is. Joy is about happiness or success. But as a Christian I have been learning that that is just a surface definition of joy.
I really struggled with joy this past winter. It wasn’t because life was going so poorly or anything; I was just in a funk. Actually, the fact that life was going well and I was feeling the way I was feeling didn’t help me feel any better. I was still able to put on a good face and have life be pretty normal most of the time. I wasn’t completely joy-less, but by myself I was struggling. Then as it often does, when we are struggling with something it’s because something deep inside us needs to get worked on. I had an issue that I buried deep that I really needed to talk to the Lord about and this funk I was in motivated me to be introspective which enabled me to take my issue to the Lord. And while I am still working things out, just talking to the Lord about everything freed me from my funk and I feel like I have my full joy back.
I 100% believe that joy is not dependent on our circumstances, like Webster hints at. I believe it is possible to find joy in just about anything (I’m personally not sure about finding joy when there is a loss of life, but other than that I feel like it is possible in most other things. Job would be a good study for this topic). People in absolute poverty, who we would consider desolate, are still capable of joy. No job, no house, no money, no possessions, and they still smile. A lot of Americans are baffled at this, but those people have just figured out where true joy comes from. That true joy comes from God.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1Peter 1:8
I found a blog by Rick Warren where he gave his definition of joy after studying the scriptures : “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
Hmm… I like Rick’s definition better than Webster’s. It’s a much deeper definition and I believe if we have Rick’s definition of joy, Webster’s will follow.
If you are like how I was and in a season where real joy seems hard, first, give yourself grace. Second take some time to talk with the Lord. Maybe you need to shift your definition of joy from Webster’s to Rick’s? Praise God and give him control of your joy. Maybe you have buried something that is hindering you from experiencing God’s full joy? Talk to God about that. He is gentle, loving, and kind. He will help you get back to your joy.
Author: Cassia Hobbs