My Name is Joy

I recently took a silly quiz on Facebook, you know the ones I’m talking about:

-What’s your superhero name?

-What’s your emotional IQ?

Yeah, you know the ones…

Well, I can’t remember what female celebrity I was trying to figure out I was most like, but one of the questions on the quiz made me pause. I even clicked my answer, moved to the next and couldn’t get it out of my mind. You see, when I take quiz’s like that, I try not to “help” predict my answer. I try to go with my initial gut reaction. (i.e. If you could choose between skydiving over the ocean and ziplining through the forest which would you prefer?) I would just immediately click the one that jumped at me first. So, back to “the answer”. The question that I haven’t been able to shake for about a week now was, “If you could have  more of anything in your life, what would it be?” They had about 4 choices: Joy, Harmony, Peace, and Love. Immediately, all I was feeling was JOY. “Joy? Why Joy?” I asked myself. “I’m really happy with my life.” I began to second guess. Without pause, I heard the Lord say, “Happiness and Joy are two different things. They go together as part of a whole, but they are two different things…”

Here I am a week later and what do I have to say today? Well, I’ve not been able to stop mulling over this one truth: Happiness and Joy are two different things. It’s like a seed was planted that day and a week later, I’m realizing how much I have mistaken being happy for having true Joy. Unspeakable Joy! The kind of Joy that becomes part of your identity, just like your name. So what is Joy? Merriam-Webster defines it as “A source or cause for great happiness; a source or cause of delight”. To me what was a little sad, however, was that it was mixed in with things like this : ” the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” First lesson this taught me? You won’t find what true Joy is in Merriam-Websters dictionary.

I began to see that the world has a glimpse of what Joy means. But unfortunately, the world hasn’t fully come to understand true Joy. Hence, definition number two that followed. Well, what does my Heavenly Father have to say about Joy?

We see in Galations 5:22 that the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. We also see in Nehemiah 8:10, “The JOY of the Lord is our strength.” Ok, I began to ask myself, “Why strength?” Why isn’t it ,”The Joy of the Lord is our peace?” Or, “The Joy of the Lord is our Love?”  Because, here is the journey He is taking me on:

Every good and perfect gift comes from him. He doesn’t just HAVE every good and perfect gift, He IS every good and perfect gift. It is His identity and when I stepped into his eternal family and asked him to live inside me….HA there it is! Joy isn’t just happiness but it is the root from which happiness leaves sprout. Joy is part of who I am so much, that even in moments throughout my life where there will be sadness, will be anger, will be struggle, that I have a knowing deep down that happiness still follows me. Where my heart and spirit are always pointed toward what is good. Joy isn’t just happiness. It’s happiness that stays and abides in me. It’s a pattern of living, not a moment I have.

What can Joy do for you?

Well let’s see what true, abiding, deep-seeded Joy does:

-It keeps you from being easily offended.

It’s hard to offend someone who lives from a place of Joy. Why? Because it’s their strength. They let negativity, resentment, and insults roll of them. They could care less. Half of the time I don’t even think they notice insults. Their Joy is so much a part of them that it would take a whole lot more than a negative arrow to strike them down. Let’s be honest, if anyone is affected, it’s the person shooting the arrows. Why? Because Joy is so contagious, for one. It gets on them and pierces them stronger than any arrows flying at them. And because of that, there’s a place where the person spewing negativity is projecting it because deep down, they want to feel the way you feel. They want to know how you can go through the every day and the moments that suck, and still find a reason to sing. Unfortunately, a lot of times, their first choice isn’t to band together with you. It’s pushing against you because of jealousy, fear, resentment, and just plain not understanding. The only thing they understand in that moment is that it hits a nerve. I will be the first to admit that there was a time in my life where super happy and joyful people annoyed the crap out of me. I would find myself cringing everytime someone flashed that chipper grin or someone I never saw have a bad day give or take 20% of the time. Seriously? They are delusional, I would think to myself. And while yes, there are people who hind behind a fake sense of happiness because they are afraid to open up and be real, I am not talking about those people. I am talking about the people who ARE realistic about moments in their life that bring pain, bring anger, bring sadness, aren’t afraid to show it, handle it, make steps to deal with, but that ALWAYS contain JOY! They know, deep down, that sorrow may last for the night, but JOY comes in the morning! It’s a pattern of living that strengthens and keeps you ready, willing, and able to deal with whatever comes your way.

-It produces so much fruit

When I looked at the choices–joy, harmony, peace, love–I thought to myself, if I lived from a place of Joy, than harmony, peace, and love has no choice BUT to follow. I can be content in whatever comes (peace), I am able to see myself and others the way God sees them no matter how they act (love), and in turn, I am able to find something good in every situation (harmony).

I can say that today, I am on a journey. From the minute I clicked that one silly quiz, a seed was planted and a tree is beginning to grow for maybe the first time in my life. I find myself more optimistic about things than I ever did, in spite of things around me that AREN’T changing. No longer will I just have “moments” of happiness, but I will have Joy. Unspeakable Joy. A Joy that I can access anytime through the Father because He is inside me! A Joy that will never run dry but will water the dry places in my life, even when I can’t feel or see it. a Joy that is just as much a part of me as my own name!

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart-WHERE? Down in my heart-WHERE? Down in my heart. I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart-WHERE? Down in my heart TO STAY!”

 

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What we do…

Ps23

How did this happen? When did I wake up and realize how different everything was? When did it change? DID it change or was it always this way and I just didn’t see? How could I not have seen? It’s all so clear now. But why now? Why, when I have so much going for me? Why, when there’s so much to celebrate? What if I don’t want to accept this as reality? What if I refuse to believe this? OUCH! Stop! Just STOP! Please, don’t do this! Fine! I’ll accept it…it’s become too painful not to. But what now? Now my pain stems from the fact that I even have to accept this.

Reprieve. Can I just get a reprieve from this. Even my dreams haunt me, toy with my head, and every day I wake up weaker than the day before. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” I quote this over and over so much that I feel it’s become an appendage on my body. Between the confusion, painful self talk, and positive self coaching, I find myself looking for a hole in the universe to slip into. One that is not bound by time. One in which I could be gone for years. Living free like an exotic bird that takes flight whenever it chooses and can soar above it all. A nomad. Yet, would only be nothing more than a bathroom break to the rest of the world. The world, that offers me nothing more than unsolicited advice half the time. Can I not just tell you how I feel without your peachy, positive opinions? When you ask me what’s wrong and I say “nothing”, it’s because I want to be able to say how I feel without you telling me what I need to do about it. Can I just be alone for God’s sakes? Can I just purge it all from my system like a physician does to an overdose victim? If it was easy enough to mourn it like a death, I would have already done so. But how can I mourn a living thing? Living and breathing.

I’m so angry!!!!! What did I ever do? Do you know how much I care? Do you know how much I love you? God! Do you know how much I wish I didn’t? If I could numb myself of you, wouldn’t that be easier? I ask myself this knowing that it’s not true. I wasn’t made that way. I wasn’t made calloused and cold, despite what you might think. If you only knew me. The real me. If you only saw me. I’m so angry that you are so incapable of that and yet, I hurt for you that you can’t. I want to curse you, slaughter every memory of you-past and present-and I want to magically change it for you, for us; wrap you in a hug that melts every layer of anguish from our cells, never to remembered anymore. 

This internal tug of war must end. What must I do? Help me. Help me. Someone. Something. Help me…

 

This, this is what we do…

I sat down not knowing what the heck to write about. I wanted to blog about nursery updates and really light-hearted, fun things. But the minute I set my hand to the keys, this title came to my head. Pounding in my head almost, and I suddenly couldn’t think of one way to write my “cute little blog” for the day. I said, “God, really? What do I write?” He said, “Just write what you’re feeling, go with it.” I am willing to bet that there is not one of us that haven’t experienced this inner dialogue between our mind and heart at one point or even many in our life. It’s what we do… By “we”, I don’t mean we in our conscious selves try to feel this way. I mean the “we” that is our subconscious. The place that most often goes unnoticed, unseen, and unappreciated. It’s sorting through information trying to bring stability to my conscious mind before I am even aware of it. Behind the scenes… If we could understand what our subconscious carries, remembers, and even provides for us on a daily basis, I sometimes wonder how different we would all be. I am not here to offer any advice today. Rather, the opposite. We don’t always need advice. We don’t always need the “bigger opinion”. The “higher way”. If you identify with the written words above, I suspect you want nothing to do with advice. And you know what? I think that that’s okay. I think that’s just perfect. I think you should be allowed to just feel sometimes without the pressure to “not stay there” or the “Okay, what’s my next step?”

Sometimes, all we need is to know we are not alone. That someone else is feeling exactly what we are feeling. That it’s okay. To be allowed to feel. Because the truth is….it’s what we do, and you are not alone.