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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Joy: The Gift and the Grit

How positive do you have to be to find joy?

I don’t mean a little smile across the face. I mean the kind of joy that tickles up from your unmasked self, a bubble that cannot live submerged, a flash of innocent playfulness.

I’m talking joy. Pull-out-the stops joy. Stop-in-your tracks joy. The kind of joy that turns everything you touch to gold, which isn’t the same as success.

I don’t know about you, but I look into the eyes of joyless people too often. And the truth is that sometimes I'm looking in the mirror!

I understand what joy isn’t. It isn’t an emotion or a mood. It isn’t the same as happy. It isn’t a reward for doing something good, making your goals, or winning some reward; though each brings celebration and good feelings.

So what is it? Where do we get it?

Paul found the secret to joy. Philippians is the letter Paul wrote from house arrest not long before his death. In it we learn how Paul prayed with joy, taught with joy, looked at his circumstances without losing joy, found contentment that was deeper than getting his hopes and dreams met. Now that’s someone I will listen to about joy!

We find the summary of his message in a short verse from Philippians 4:4:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Rejoice. It is simply the prefix re plus the word joy. Rejoice means more than just doing whatever joy means over and over. Re sits in front of joy to deepen it, emphasize it, and intensify everything that joy means.

I like that. So whatever joy means, rejoice takes it up several notches.

But joy won't come as surprise. Joy needs a reason, an anchor. It will go as deep as the anchor it is attached to. Make joy about good things that happen, and what you thought was joy leaves as soon as the good thing is over.

That’s why Paul suggests that our anchor is the Lord. Find your joy in Him first; not in things, circumstances, or even good feelings.

Make a list with me. What might be on your Joy in Jesus List. Here’s mine

  • Jesus chose me, searched for me, will never give up on me.

  • Jesus wants only the best for me.

  • Jesus would have died for me if I were the only person left on this planet.

  • Jesus has more resources to fulfill His plan for me than I could ever gather to make my plan come true.

  • Jesus loves me with an undying love that will never fail to give me what I need.

This decision to Rejoice in the Lord always is a heart-tuning and mind-turning journey. There’s never a dead-end even when you don’t get what you want. You can’t look at everything the same way and have this deep, anchored joy in the Lord.

This kind of joy changes you, fills you, propels you. It’s part gift and part grit. What God gives you will shape you, but it doesn’t come while you sleep. You work it out. It’s a way of seeing that leads to being. It’s an underpinning and foundation. It’s not based on personality type or circumstances. It is exponentially more positive than positive thinking.

Interested? Let’s take this treasure hunt together. Let’s find joy. Or rather, let’s let joy find us!

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes on joy!

Sharing the journey!


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