I recently watched the movie “Inside Out” with my young daughter, and she loves the character, Joy.  I do, too, and it’s one of the main things that I am seeking on a day to day basis.  We all know that we find what we are looking for, but how do you find joy when you are the LAST thing from joyful?  We all know the answers we have heard to this question.

“It’s a mindset.”

“You find what you are looking for.”

“Choose joy.”

These are all true and wonderful, don’t get me wrong.  But when you have a three year old throwing a temper tantrum that rivals Veruca Salt in Walmart and you’ve been laid off earlier that week, and difficult people want to make life more…well…difficult; I am not #WonderWomanJoySeeker in that moment. On a more serious note, when someone you love is fighting to keep their life from a disease that seems certain to claim it; when you’ve had a miscarriage and all you wanted was to have a baby; when the love of your life tells you that he or she is seeing someone else and your relationship with them is terminated; it’s hard to find the joy in the situation when you are still finding your way as a Christian.  Mentors are awesome, books are wonderful, the Bible is best. I will be totally transparent on this blog and say that there are a lot of things that I know in my head.  It’s just making my heart KNOW them.

What is the definition of Joy, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary?

Full Definition of JOY

a :  the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires :  delight

b :  the expression or exhibition of such emotion :  gaiety 

2:  a state of happiness or felicity :  bliss
3:  a source or cause of delight
What is the Bible’s definition of joy?  We know that joy is a fruit of the spirit.  “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” – Neh. 8:10.  Rick Warren’s definition from his extensive studying of the Bible is this:
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.
This is not easy to do. But when you can, man, it is worth it.  When you’re disappointed, hurt, or angry because your expectations (whether real or imposed) were not met, it is hard to look past the pain to see how this could benefit someone else.  You know what?  THAT’S OKAY.  Feel it.  Even when you don’t want to.  Even when it sucks.  I’m sorry, I know there are those who don’t like that word, but sometimes there is no other way to describe the load you are bearing at the moment. It’s heavy.  And while you and I may know to cast it on Jesus, how do you actually do that without taking it back and worrying about it or lamenting over it some more?  I don’t know.  But that is why this blog is here.  It’s to document a faith journey and hopefully someday, it will help someone else who’s struggling like I am. There’s joy in the struggle.  There is.  We have to press in and by that I do not mean a Christian cliche.  I mean get quiet, make time and let God have it if you need to.  Trust me, He can handle it.  He became human and He empathizes with us.  I like The Message’s interpretation of Hebrews 4:15.  <<By the way, I do NOT have these memorized like I should. I am googling different translations because it helps me study God’s Word. I want to memorize them by studying them and learning them in my heart.>>

Hebrews 4:15-16The Message (MSG)

The High Priest Who Cried Out in Pain

14-16 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

So.

Here’s to joy, whatever it is to you.  I hope and pray that God shows all of us what joy means to Him and what it should mean to us.  We are in this journey together.  Here’s to the three letter word that is freedom thanks to a sacrifice we may never fully understand. 🙂

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