Going through hardships ultimately gave me a new perspective on joy. We are called to be joyful regardless of our circumstances, which baffled me in the midst of trials. God took me on a four year journey to discover joy and how to have a spirit of joy.
What is Joy?
Joy is a source or cause of delight; something or someone that gives joy to someone; success in doing, finding or getting something. Two of these definitions play into having a spirit of joy: a source or cause of delight and someone that gives joy to someone. A spirit of joy or biblical joy is a fruit of the spirit. Biblical joy comes from filling the spiritual void with good relationships, primarily an intimate relationship with the One who is pure joy. Jesus put it this way: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit” (John 15:5). The majority of people think happiness it the ultimate feeling, but happiness is fleeting. Happiness is an emotion, and God never intended for people to be in that emotional state all the time. Happiness is a glad feeling that depends on something good happening. But His greater desire is that you have unconditional joy. Think of joy as a strong foundation that supports a variety of healthy emotions, including happiness. The long-range evidence of joy is general gratitude, contentment, optimism, a sense of freedom and other positive attitudes.
Finding this presence-driven joy is not easy when circumstances are difficult or even easy. One thing I learned is that joy should never come and go like money or weather! Maintaining joy is only possible through recognizing the gift of His presence on a daily basis. Joy knows he is with me on the good days and horrible ones. So when life is trying remember that joy is possible. May it shine brightly on your face each and every day.