(Click here if you’re unfamiliar with this project.) When I began this month, I naively thought it was almost like cheating to have the month of joy occur when it was summertime and the living was easy! Fast forward thirty-one days, and I’m sitting here laughing at that thought. Frustrating friend drama, my health suddenly becoming much worse than it had been, financial worries about my future, a puppy that is seemingly incorrigible and bites me several times a day–overall, July was a very frustrating month, and to be honest I hardly ever exhibited joy. Hopefully I’ve learned a few things though.
The joy of the Lord is our strength–rejoice! (Charles Spurgeon sermon on Nehemiah) When the soul has been saturated with the rain of penitence, the clear shining love makes the flowers of gladness blossom all around. Tears —> JOY (blessed are they that mourn). A divine joy–of the Lord–open to all who partake of it. God has given us appetites which carnal things cannot satisfy, but He has also given us satisfaction. We rejoice because there is a God, and because of His attributes of grace and faithfulness.
I’ve had a Post-It note on the back of my bedroom door for years that said 1. God 2. Others 3. You. However, it wasn’t pointed out to me until this month that if you substitute the word Jesus for God, it becomes an acronym that spells joy: Jesus, Others, You. The only way to have fullness of joy is through Jesus. If your joy is based on anything else, then it’s not really joy–it’s happiness, and happiness depends on outward circumstances which you cannot control. But if your joy springs from Jesus, it will be full and everlasting, because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever–He is innately faithful and good and calls you His beloved. Joy is still something that we have to choose (I always have the picture in my head of our friend telling her little daughter when the frustration or whining began, “Choose joy”) and then work for, but if we keep our minds on Jesus and His goodness it will be so much easier than if we let our current situation dictate our mood.
Here’s one more quick tip for my fellow introverted blogger types: joy manifests itself in different ways in different personalities. Having joy doesn’t always mean that you’re running around with a huge grin on your face acting super over-enthusiastic. It’s a condition of your heart. Yes, it should be able to be seen outwardly too, but don’t feel like you have to go overboard and be something you’re not.
What did you learn through our month of joy? Next up is August: peace.