I was pleasantly surprised the other day, when someone close, described me as ‘joyful’.
Truth is, life doesn’t always feel full of joy. It’s often full of the unexpected, like my partner having unstable health, and various other challenging circumstances (which have prevented blogging recently). So it was lovely to know that despite all this, joy seeps out!
Feelings are not necessarily the same as facts. I may feel overwhelmed at times, but deeper facts tell me a different story. As Mother Teresa said:
“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much”
I find a refreshing humour and hope in this.
So what is joy? I believe it’s what bubbles up from a deep connection with God, and there’s something special when this flows over into other people’s lives – for both the receiver and the giver.
Joy is different to happiness.
Happiness is a feeling, and feelings are generated by circumstances. They’re changeable, just like the sea. Sometimes the sea of life is calm, and all is sunshine and light.
Other times it’s dark and stormy. We are tossed about, and happiness can be swept overboard before we know it!
Joy though, is deeper. Its source is God, and rises from the depths.
However much positive thinking I do, I cannot make myself truly joyful – deep joy comes when I plunge the depths and am honest with God. It gives me the sense that there is more to life than meets the eye. It gives me a different, lighter perspective, and nudges me onwards and upwards.
It’s there for everyone. We just need to dip our toe in – in all our messiness and hurt and uncertainty. When we allow ourselves to be surrounded by God’s current of love, joy will seep into our inner selves and swell our hearts. It will make a difference to us, and those around us.
There’s a family joke that my epitaph will be ‘She was a maker and a mender’. Spot on, but to be thought of as ‘joyful’, is even better!
Truth is… “[may] my joy be in you and your joy be made full” John 15:11