Joy is a wonderful feeling, but it’s more than a feeling. It makes me want to sing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” Joy is the strength I find deep within me from the abiding presence of God’s Spirit. Joy is my true nature wrapped in God’s power, love, and wisdom. Joy puts a smile on my face to share with you when I think about God’s goodness to me over the years. Joy is what I feel when God speaks to me through His Word. Joy is what I feel when I’m closely connected with the people that I know and love. Joy grows as God’s love and grace grows in me. Joy is what I experience when I get to create what’s missing and needed. Joy is what I feel when I dive-bomb my friends. Joy is what I experience drinking my favorite Tim Horton’s coffee with my Spirit-Driven friends. Joy is what I feel when God inspires me to write my weekly blog.
My joy quickly disappears when I get focused on the wrong things. Joy evaporates when I judge or criticize. Joy comes and goes when I base my happiness on my feelings. Joy is restricted when I only see part of the big picture, the part that disrupts my comfort zone. Joy is nowhere to be found when people that I love pull away, get sick, or die. My joy has been incredibly challenged as I have watched people become afraid and stay away from one another. My joy becomes diluted when people from the same family, church, county, and world are fighting with one another. My joy turns to anger when people look at and treat one another in inhumane ways. My joy gets zapped if I’m around joy-suckers. I lose my joy if I work too much. I lose my joy if my belly is empty. And I lose my joy at 10:15 each night when all of my systems tell me that I’ve had enough for one day.
My joy tank gets replenished as I enjoy God and people. The Psalmist wrote, “The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help live in joy” (Psalm 69:32). Imagine the joy that I experience as I see God at work in you. Ashley loving dogs. Allison & Jeremiah posting Zeke pictures. Becky laughing. Ben helping people. Brad fishing. Celeste praising God and loving her family. Cynthia taking pictures. Chris celebrating God’s goodness. Court falling in love. Dad and mom making music together. Dennis playing with Grady and Wally. Eric appreciating life. Faith smiling. Gary creating. Heather playing piano. Isaac scoring. Jen creating. Joe serving friends at Tim Horton’s. Katie reading her favorite book. Kenny welcoming. Larry enjoying his grandchildren. Lori enjoying her 29th birthday again. Mark and Matt enjoying deep conversation. Mark collecting mission Bibles. Nathan loving Jessica. Oscar swimming…
As I begin to enjoy my first bite of alphabet friend soup, I became increasingly aware of how God has blessed and surrounded me for years with incredibly passionate people who each enjoy life in a different way. When we spend most of our time living in and sharing our passion, we bring glory to God, we put a smile on His face, and we make the world a better place to live. If you find a way to get paid for doing what you love, you won’t ever stop! I get paid to play with and help hurting kids of all ages. I don’t think I’ll ever grow up or get old.
As my love for God and people grows each day, I am inspired by you to write and share the reason for my hope and my joy. The unchanging, loving God sent Jesus to save sinners like me. He healed me and restored me and filled me with His joy. And no matter what you’re going through right now, God is also with you, and He is drawing you into a loving relationship with Him. Joy comes when you surrender your heart and the parts of your life to God’s love and God’s plan for your life. As Billy Graham used to say, “Won’t you come?” Joy comes when you come.