So - for about a month now, we've been hanging out on Wednesday mornings for a little weekly Coffee Date over at Holley's place...
We've been talking about some heavy things... some real life unfolding... refilling our cups as we share a bit of encouragement. So, today I invite you to pour yourself something yummy, and cozy right in with me as we dig in to what brings you (well... at least, me-) joy!
But funny... smiling, laughter - happy, even - that is different than Joy, right?
Let's look at the Definitions:
: feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.
: showing or causing feelings of pleasure and enjoyment
: a feeling of great happiness
: a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone
Happy is circumstantial;
it ebbs and flows,
but Joy... Joy is a fruit of the Spirit,
it gives and it grows.
So then if we were asking, "What makes you happy?" the answer would always start with friends and family, laughing together... then move to sunsets and romance, to sunshine and sand, a good book and some coffee (of course!) - but what makes me happy can change on any given day. Happiness can fade... sometimes - it simply nearly instantly evaporates... poof - and it's gone.
But "What brings you joy?" well - for me, that answer begins and ends with Jesus. He is the Source and the Cause... It's His passionate, relentless pursuit of me, that no matter what my situation or circumstance, I know that He is all in and He is coming for me full on. I wrote about how He is All In and how He comes for us Full On about a year ago exactly! You can read about it here, and here, and lastly- here.
So - when I feel weak, I remember that the Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh 8:10)
...and when I feel empty - or emptied out, I remember that in His Presence there is fullness of Joy (Ps 16:11) ...not just a little bit; not a hint of it - but fullness! Fullness is good and this reminds me of where to go to fill up!
In the Gospel of John, Jesus says that when we abide in His love, His joy is in us, so that our joy may be full! (John 15:10-11) so when my feelings are weighing me down, and my circumstances are less than Joyful... I remember, it's HIS Joy in me, that makes my joy overflowing. And really - Jesus, ever our example... shows us that Joy is not temporary. Joy is a real thing that helps get us from here (whatever darkness or heaviness we are in), to there (Light and Love and Truth)!
The Bible says that 'for the joy set before Him, He endured the Cross.' (Heb 12:2) This reminds me that in the midst of my worst day... I still have an option to choose joy. Maybe not happy... but Joy.
And what was the 'joy set before Him'? I'm no theologian, but I like to think it was us, free... it was the Bride, glorious and radiant, and loving Him the way He loves us:
All In... and Full On!
Oh what Joy!
Linking up and sharing a cup of coffee with Holley Gerth
and with Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory
Lastly, I don't think that Happiness is contagious. We can be happy FOR someone, but it's not lasting and it's not personal. But Joy? I think our Joy can spill out and get all over... it can saturate an atmosphere and shift things around! I think His Joy in us is contagious and we can be intentional about spreading it around!!
So, how do you share Joy? I'd love to hear in the comments below!