Finding Joy

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{photo via @homemade_}

Joy is one of the best gifts God gives us. The Bible uses the word joy (Greek and Hebrew) to express a human condition that can be either a positive feeling or action.

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but Joy comes in the morning…” Psalms 30

This verse is the feeling of joy expressed in a way that leads us to the truth that your feeling of joy is on it’s way. Tough times don’t last, bad feelings don’t last. The feeling of joy is coming! Keep faith!

“Be joyful always.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

This verse uses the Greek word “joy” as an action. Choose the action of joy ALWAYS. Yeah, God didn’t stutter. He means ALWAYS. Life can be so hard sometimes—trust me, I know. Work can be a drag, school can be hard, finances are stressful, and life in between all of that can get so messy. But God commands us to find joy in the midst of our difficulties.

Finding joy means letting the Holy Spirit simply do it’s job. You don’t have to ask God for joy. He has already given it to you. It’s there for you to have always, like He promised, but you must surrender yourself to the Spirit so that joy can work in you. Accepting and embracing the joy that’s been given to you is where your happiness rests. Many of you might know the quote, “happiness is a choice.” As cliché as it may sound, it’s true.

I’m probably making it sound easy, aren’t I? Well friends, here’s the truth… Sure, it is an easy concept, but it is very hard work. Simply put: find joy. How and where: now that’s a little bit harder. I don’t have those answers completely figured out myself, but what helps me the most are these few tips:

1. Let yourself be sad

I know that may sound contrary to what I’ve been saying this whole time but seriously, I mean it, let yourself be sad! If you are happy 24/7, nonstop, all day, every day, then I applaud you but for those of you like me, I have bad days. Sadness and difficulty hit us all, we have to accept that. We are all broken people living in a broken world, trying to interact with and love other broken people. Silly, isn’t it?! In the midst of the chaos, sometimes joy is understandably hard to achieve. So let yourself be sad. But only for a little! Life isn’t going to stop because you want to sit in bed with the curtains closed, weeping by yourself for days or weeks. Don’t live in a pool of heartache and pity. Limit your sadness, then choose to move forward; choose to find joy.

2. Praise Him

Thank God for where you are. Thank God for those really hard times. Thank Him for being there and meeting you in your current brokenness even if you don’t feel like He is. Sing Hallelujah! Sing a song of praise to consume your mind with the One who is worthy of all our praise in every situation. Speak to Him. Whisper His name the second your mind starts to flee from joy. “Jesus. Savior. Friend.” Fix your eyes on the One who is Love and Joy. This helps me remember to whom I belong and that where I find Jesus, I find joy and life to the full.

3. Do something nice

Like I said earlier, we aren’t always going to be happy, joyful people, but what I find helps get me out of my joyless-funk is by doing something nice for myself or someone else. Acts of kindness can do as much good for you as they can for the other person. It can be a family member, a friend, co-worker, or even a stranger! Paying that person a compliment, cracking a (hopefully funny and understandable) joke to them at the cash register, smiling at them as they pass by, or letting the car go in front of you… These things go a long way. You don’t have to be in the mood to smile, but smile at them anyway. You don’t have to be funny to try at a joke, but I promise they’ll appreciate the effort…or maybe think you’re kind of weird but it’s still worth a shot. You don’t have to have the right words to give a compliment, but I mean c’mon we all need a little affirmation sometimes. Think about how good it feels after someone has done something nice for you. Be that person who does the nice thing. Shedding joy on someone else creates an opening for joy to come into you.

Throw on some ratty clothes and paint the heck out of a blank canvas. Put a nice dress on, apply some lipstick and go dance the night away. Wake up your roommate and make her go get some Ben & Jerry’s with you. Go for a drive and sing Taylor Swift at the top of your lungs. Buy yourself that $20 bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates you had your eyes on the other day. We all have that one thing that makes us feel better. Whatever it is, sisters, do what causes joy to flood into your being effortlessly.

Beloveds, I invite you on this journey of joy with me. Let’s pray for joy to be evident in our lives, for us to welcome the Holy Spirit’s work of joy in us, and to keep on finding joy through the good and the bad. Let’s seek inexplicable joy together and remember that the pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.

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