3/26/16

What is Joy?

I'm sorry again about last Saturday. And I'm semi-sorry about this week's post.

So, I was on a trip all last week. We left on Saturday and didn't get back till late Thursday night (technically Friday morning). I didn't wake up till 11 either, and my thoughts were everywhere. It has been a long week and I just couldn't write the post I wanted to.

I wish I could promise you that it'll be up next Saturday, but the honest truth is I'm really not sure. Life is hard right now, and my creativity is dulled.

Here's my explanation.

My best friend is moving across the country in two days. I don't get to see her today, but I'll get to see her tomorrow. I get to go to her house for the last time for a few precious hours, and then she'll be gone.

Understandably, I'm only semi-functional right now. I can't think about writing, and I haven't written. I can't think about world building, so I won't blog about world building.

I was in a state, trying to figure out what I should do. Write another post excusing my absence?

My dear friend Katie told me to write a personal post about what's on my mind. So that's what I'm going to do.

I made an unconscious goal at the beginning of this year to study the bible more. I found a new way of doing that, an obvious way that made me feel like The Most Stupid Idiot Ever. Like, how did I not think of this before?

I call it a concept study. You pick a concept and you study it. Simple, right?

I started with love.

Love has always fascinated me. It's such an overused word with so many meanings. The love I was interested in, however, was true love. God's love. So I did a study of the love of the Lord and what that looks like in our lives, etc.

Now, a lot of things have been happening in my life lately to bring on the sadness. I was really beginning to feel it, especially towards the beginning of this month when I found out my friend's house had sold and they had to be gone by the 30th.

I couldn't believe it. I can still hardly believe it. Why would God take my best friend away? Again?

You see, this has happened to me once before, so I know the feeling well. I know the hurt that comes after. The pain. The loneliness. It'll take weeks before I feel remotely like myself again, and even after that I will get hit with the pain of her being gone. It'll be worse now, too, since I'm much older. The first time I was only seven.

So that was when I felt called to explore joy (and realized I was beginning a study of the fruits of the spirit without even meaning to). This lead to a big question.



What is joy? What does joy look like in our lives?

These were two big questions that troubled me for several weeks.

If we have joy, does that mean we cannot be sad? Why was I feeling so sad all the time? Was that wrong? Did that make me a bad Christian?

I slowly began to realize that joy and love are very similar.

They are both things you do in spite of your feelings. They are choices you make, no matter what  you feel. They are decisions. They are actions. They are attitudes we put on because we know that is how God wants us to live.

When we have the joy of the Lord, that means that no matter what we feel, we can still have joy. It is never too far gone. Because our true joy comes from the knowledge that we have a savior and an eternity with Him.

Joy is placing your faith in God to supply your peace and happiness. It’s not putting your trust in earthly things. It’s putting your trust in God. In your salvation. In the eternal.

But joy is more than just accepting everything in life and making the best of it.

No, joy is falling on your face and praising God in any and all circumstances.

This is one of many reasons joy is such a powerful thing. We as Christians defy our emotions and we praise God for all things. As Christians, we take what God gives us. Good and bad. And we praise Him for all of it.

This doesn’t mean we cannot grieve. This doesn’t mean we cannot be sad. But it does mean that we don’t have to be sad. We don’t have to be grieved. We have a hope. We have an eternity with the Lord in heaven. This life and all its problems may seem huge now, but in the end it will be the blink of an eye. It will all be over before we even realize it.

A big part of joy is trust. We must trust in God to provide and deliver what we need.

Paul says in Philippians 4:11: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.”

Paul had the joy of the Lord. He had learned to take what life threw at him and make the best of it. More so, to be content.  But how is that possible? How can we be happy and praise God when our best friends move away? When our loved ones die? When we lose our jobs, when we are gossiped about and persecuted, how can we be happy? How can we praise God and thank Him for that?

I think we find our answer in James 1:2-3. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Trials. Trials help us grow. They test us and force us to learn. They shape us and mold us, and if we take it the right way, they make us into better and braver people. They help us connect with others in a way that nothing else can. Who can connect to someone who has suffered the loss of a child better than someone who has gone through that same trial?

I will conclude with this.

When hard times come your way and the world seems to have been flipped on its head, you can still  have  joy.

How?

Because we as Christians know that God is testing us. We are going through this for a reason. Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and he will direct your paths.”

God has a plan for you, and if you trust in Him, you just might discover the blessings hidden in the hardships.



Thank you for reading! Next week I’ll try to have part four of the To Create a World series up. Be sure to bop in and check it out!

Do you have joy? Do you struggle with it? How would you define joy? Any additional thoughts? Please share in the comments! (verses and quotes on joy are welcome too!)

<3

12 comments:

  1. This is SUCH a good reminder, Hannah! It's funny you talked about love in this post because I posted today on Love as well. :) Love and Joy are 2 very hard things to do but SO important. Thank you for posting your thoughts!!

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    1. Thank you! I loved your post :)

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  2. Wow. I feel like you summed up exactly what joy means to me. It is most definitely a choice and has everything to do with praising God for what He brings our way. And you're exactly right. It's not that we /can't/ be sad, it's that we don't /have/ to be.

    I have struggled in a similar area recently, realizing all of my close friends are going off to college. Even my not so close friends. I'm not doing college, so I felt like I was being left behind for a long time, even when I decided I didn't mind not doing college. Choosing joy has really helped me enjoy them while I still can and pray for them in preparation.

    Thanks so much for this post!

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    1. Awwww I know that feel. All my close friends are graduating this year, being two years older than me. *sigh* I'm so sorry. I'm so glad you are striving to choose joy in your life! <3

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  3. I love this and I love you. God will continue to bless you as you seek Him with all your heart! I am so so so so so SO GLAD that God put you in my life, just as I was entering this season where I, too, was learning what true joy was. Every day, I am reminded in so many ways that He keeps His promises. One of those ways is you. Keep on keeping on!

    "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him."

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    1. Aw you lovely, beautiful bean you. *hugs* 🐙

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  4. Thank you so much for this Hannah! So, um, my best friend also moved away, to a different country, when I was 7. I know how you feel and I'll be praying for you. <3

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    1. I'm so sorry for youu ugh. It really stinks. A lot. Thank you so much for the prayers, lovely! <3

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  5. Joy is a choice I love that! Something I need to remember.

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    1. Yes!! It is a choice we must make many times every day. Keep choosing joy, Skye!

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  6. This was a great post, Hannah! I did a post on Joy a few weeks ago, and it's such an important topic, but I don't think it gets written about a whole lot. Thanks for sharing! And I like your picture with the post. :)

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    1. Oh neat! I'll have to go check it out! :) Thank you! All credit to Pinterest. XP

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