Around Christmas time you see the same, familiar words plastered on home decor, woven through songs and even printed on cookies. Hope, Peace, Joy. But I feel like a lot of people don’t really know what those words mean. Especially Joy.
It’s funny how most people’s goal in life is “to be happy” because I’m discovering more and more that happiness is essentially impossible.
Happiness is based on circumstance, so yes, you can achieve happiness if everything is right in the world, but there’s the problem.
Nothing is right in the world.
To get everything (and I mean everything) right in your world you would have to have piles of money and be really selfish. But even if you had everything right in your world, you flip on the news and learn that the rest of the world is messed up, so in order to achieve happiness now, you would have to live in denial that everything around you is as it should be.
For a long time I used to get caught up in doing things that made me happy, but I’ve realized that these ‘things’ I’ve expended so much energy and time seeking are ultimately temporary and unsatisfying.
What I should be seeking is joy.
I think maybe people want to be happy so bad because they don’t really understand what joy is. See, happiness is easy to understand, but almost impossible to get, but joy is hard to understand, but easy to get.
Take the Christmas story for example. If you really read the story and what it’s saying, it’s not a pretty story. There’s a tax audit coming from a country that’s not even their own and Joseph has to walk his 8-month pregnant fiance 90 miles to Bethlehem. (Not sure about you but walking 90 miles when your 8-months pregnant sounds awful)
When they arrive, they’re notified that there’s no room for them to sleep, so Mary has to go have a baby in a barn with a bunch of stinky animals, and who shows up to support and take pictures to post on instagram? Some shepherds.
I could go on, but you get the picture. None of these circumstances were ideal, yet it says that everyone that experienced the baby, experienced joy.
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – Luke 2:10
Joy is not based on circumstance. It’s based on something much deeper and lasting. It can exist in any environment because it doesn’t require everything to be right with the world. It requires a Savior who has made everything right by His love and sacrifice.
You can have joy when things aren’t all as they should be because it stems from confidence in knowing that Jesus is in control and makes all things as they should be.
He knows what’s best for me better than I know what’s best for me, so when I release control of my life to Him, I take a huge pressure off my shoulders and enable the best plan for my life to become reality.
Joy is amazing because you don’t have to have a bunch of “stuff” to have it. The longevity of joy manifests itself in your heart, then flows out of you and into other people, which changes their lives!
I’ve changed my goal from the pursuit of happiness to the pursuit of Jesus because the more I hang out with Him, the more I experience joy and more I encounter His grace and love for us.
“In Your presence is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11
If you’re going through a season of life where nothing is right and you are far from happiness, that’s okay. You can still rejoice in the JOY of the Lord.
xx Nicole #DoStuff #BeStuff