Growing up, we went to church and learned that ‘the JOY of the Lord shall be your strength”. I had no idea what that meant as a kid/teenager. I assumed that it meant that if you’re happy all the time- even in hard seasons of life- that that joy will bring you strength to get through it. And I used to put pressure on myself to always be happy and ‘joyful’. But that level of hyper-ness was too exhausting.
Now that I’m a bit older, I’m starting to realize that there are many different types of JOY. Like shades of blue or yellow. The dictionary describes JOY as: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
I have found great JOY after finishing a great book/Netflix series, watching my children make pancakes, photography, holding hands with my husband and traveling to new countries. In these examples, it would be odd if I suddenly screamed and jump for JOY. My kids and husband would look at me with big eyes and wonder if I finally went crazy. But I felt extreme happiness and pleasure at each of these examples. Real pure joy. It just looked different.
When I went through a hard time a couple months ago, I didn’t feel like I had a constant wave of JOY to make me feel better. But rather, I felt like I was in the middle of a huge lake and each small moment of happiness was like a stone that I could stand on. Looking back I could see a stone path that I had walked on to get back to shore.
May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.