I have a joy issue.
I know Joy, true Joy, with a capital J, is not of me or anything I do. Happiness is one thing. That I can control, to a certain extent. I can choose to be happy or I can choose to be grumpy. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that comes and goes with the swirls of life.
Joy, though, that just is. I have it in Christ. He shines His light down on me and through the death and resurrection of Christ I have Joy. Joy in knowing my Savior. Joy in my salvation. Joy in forgiveness and real freedom. Joy in being a Child of God. Heir to the Promise, heir to His many promises.
Joy is not dependent on me. But a lot of time it “feels” like it is.
I know the floor needs to be swept and mopped, but I’m not seeing the joy there. I have 8 emails to return, and a messed up email server, not seeing the joy. School work to check and help with, which might be joyful, but math makes two out of four children cry. Why does joy seem to evade us in the daily of life? Why can’t I recognize the resurrection joy I have, in those moments?
These moments may seem silly, but they are the stuff of life. Your stuff of life looks different, we’re all at different life stages and seasons, and places. But all of it, from the diapers to be changed to the funerals to be attended, are pieces fit together that gives meaning and purpose. Even my dish scrubbing or my phone-call returning is for Christ and I can see joy in it because it is for Him. He promises to use the everything of life in His Kingdom.
So, how to solve my joy problem. How to move Joy from knowledge in my head to practice in my life?
Truth. I need people to speak Truth in my life and I need to speak truth to myself through His Word. When I step away from that truth, then joy starts to be about happiness for me. I’m looking for joy to look like this welling up spring of excitement and ecstatic energy.
So I created a gentle reminders for myself. Sometimes it looks like scripture on the bathroom mirror or the fridge. Sometimes it looks like Portals of Prayer in the bathroom for 5 minutes of quiet peace. Sometimes it looks like texting a friend to share my struggles, whether large or small. Sometimes it looks like a notebook. So I got out my leftover school supply bin and wrote in large letters:
Mom’s To Do With Joy
across the cover.
I created this notebook at the beginning of the school year. When I went to write my “name” on it – Mom, of course – so no one would steal it, my pen just kept writing. A gentle reminder that when I open this notebook to find my lists and plans and schedules, that my Joy does not change with the tides. It doesn’t change by Heidi’s excitement rating scale of the task at hand. It just is in Christ. I have Joy. No one and no thing can take it.
And my little prayer goes up…“Thank you, Lord, for Joy. Keep me ever mindful of my Joy found in you and help me to live in that Joy as I go about the tasks ahead. In Jesus Name, Amen.”