This week I’ve just filled this ‘Joy for Today’ journal. My ‘Besty’ bought me a journal like this when I was struggling to deal with Post Viral Fatigue and the exhaustion, frustration, anger, fear and isolation it brought. The title and quotations in the journal were a helpful reminder that even though things felt like a nightmare, Jesus was inviting me on a journey of joy and that what I needed to enjoy the journey was available only in Him. I liked this journal so much I bought myself another one exactly the same. I figured it was an invitation to enjoy a double portion of JOY for each day!!
Sometimes our circumstances release joy and other times can act like barrier to joy. I’ve felt both extremes this week. At the beginning of the week, I felt like I was bubbling over with joy but by the end of the week, if felt more like the bubble had burst!
Have you ever felt like that? We’re not alone. In Exodus 15 we read of Moses and the Israelites’ song to celebrate being rescued at the Red Sea from the Egyptians. Before the chapter is over we read “Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” (Exodus 15:22-24 NIV). Within 3 days their celebrating had turned to complaining 😦
Their decision is recorded for us to read but we can decide to change the record in our lives and choose joy.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Good fruit comes from good trees; good trees have good roots; good roots need good soil. The fruit is available but often it involves digging down deep.
On Thursday morning I woke up singing “You are always good, You are always good, You are always good, and Your love endures.” (Thank you Kathryn Scott and Mark Rainey!!)
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5 NIV)
Graham Cooke writes “God’s goodness shall follow you all the days of your life. You must therefore welcome goodness into your life. It is the antidote to despair and the grounds for living a life of joy. He has stored up goodness in your life that must be enjoyed in every circumstance.”
Joy is not only a choice – it’s a command!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”(Philippians 4:4 NIV). The Message translation says “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!” And the Message interprets the command in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to “Rejoice always” as “Be cheerful no matter what.”
For CS Lewis “joy is the serious business of heaven” and in the business of heaven we get to keep what we give away. When we give away joy it tends to boomerang its way back in greater measure. Unlike butter straight from the fridge, joy is easy to spread!!
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia.
We have the potential to turn our life around as we embrace our potential to turn someone else’s life around. Giving away joy releases even more joy.
And joy is good for us!!! “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) and “A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22 NASB). Let’s choose to take it and give it away regularly.
“Real joy is not found in having the best of everything but in trusting that God is making the best of everything.”