Surprised by joy!

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.

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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!

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Truth is… “[may] my joy be in you and your joy be made full” John 15:11

Coming across…

Last week I lost it. I had been wronged and my response was to lose my rag.
Not a pretty situation.
A better response would have been to take a step back,
and then return cool, calm and collected to explore a way forward.
But I was deeply hurt. I exploded, and the adage ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ disappeared in a puff of smoke!

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The turning point came the following day.
Truth is, I was still nursing my hurt, but unexpectedly I found myself humming the melody from a song I learnt many years ago. Then the words burst into consciousness – ‘May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart, be acceptable to you, God my strength and my redeemer’.
I found myself inwardly singing them over and over again, and they became a bridge.
I found myself seeing things from another perspective, and in coming across to the other side, a conversation resulted and we moved on.
This didn’t mean brushing the situation under the carpet, but rather giving the deeper issues a good airing.

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Taking in the broader picture, rather than just focussing on my hurt, was in fact liberating.
I guess because it got to the heart of the matter, and also lined up with my faith as a believer in God.
Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think that Christians should be spineless.
We should value ourselves and not let others trample over us, but how we do this needs to be in line with our faith.
How we come across speaks volumes.

Ghandi said

 “Be sure you taste your words before you spit them out”

I guess it’s a reminder to us all to to stop, look and listen before opening our mouth.
Words have such power – they can build up, or knock down.
May we choose wisely.

Truth is… ‘May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you, Lord my refuge and my redeemer’ Psalm 19:14