Joy in the Journey

joyful-childrenWhat is not to love about this picture? Even though we can’t see this little girls face as she jumps for joy at the ocean, we can certainly read her body language, it is a joy-filled moment!

Here we are, Monday morning, have you found anything to make you jump for joy yet today? No, me neither. Happy?  Yes.  Jumping yet? No. I was thinking about this as I was drinking my coffee, looking at my appointments today, planning my schedule….and I thought this: Happy is easy, but to have joy I need to be engaged. Joy is my expression back, think about it. Have you ever looked at someone and described them as full of joy without seeing some type of outward evidence of it?

Happy can be seen as contentment, more of a disposition, “she is a happy person, always pleasant and smiles.” Joy on the other hand is engaged, moving, measurable and makes you want to join someone on their joy journey.

Today my son Jordan and I went downtown to get his passport renewed. All of the usual drama as you enter a federal building these days, from going through security, watching a man get arrested who attempted to go through security before us, the waiting, the waiting, the waiting, you know the drill. As we were leaving the parking garage, the attendant who took my ticket and assisted me in paying for my parking was about as joyful as a person could be. She greeted me with an exuberant, “And how is your day?” to which I replied, “Great, how is yours?” and this is what I got, with a a lot of joy behind it, “Me? I’m living the dream!”

OK, so maybe her job is not a dream job, but her heart was full of joy. It wasn’t sarcasm, it wasn’t  put on. It was as sincere as anyone I have ever seen. It struck me so much that I repeated her expression, just the way she said it several times on our drive back to Issaquah, “Me? I’m living the dream!” How can you not admire someone with that much joy? It is inspiring to see and contagious by nature. She made me want to live the dream too.

Thinking about this; true joy can not be contained, it has to find an outlet, it was made to be expressed.

Isaiah 55:12 says “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

I love this verse. As I was reading the commentaries for this scripture it explained that this verse was speaking of the captives returning from Babylon. How their joy would be so great that even the creation of nature would not be able to keep from joining in with their triumphant return. They were living the dream!

How about you? The bottom line is this, even though your circumstances may be full of great pressures, you can choose joy in the journey. How is God speaking to you today about your joy? Do you live it in such a way that others can’t help but see it and be caught up in it as well? Praying for you as you dig deeper in the journey, that your joy will be overflowing as we read in Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

Love being in the Word with you!

Cheryl J

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2 Responses to Joy in the Journey

  1. Lori H. says:

    Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It s a state of contentment, confidence and hope.

    Christian joy is unique from happiness because it does not depend on any circumstances to exist. God gives us three reasons why we should be joyful. 1) We should be joyful in light of God’s grace. His grace is bigger than any sin we have committed. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sin as a ransom for many. 2) No matter how deep our struggles or how high our mountains, God will lovingly comfort us. Nothing can separate us from his protection. 3) We should take joy in the fact that our lives can be shared in community with other Christians. We are not alone in our journeys. We have a Christian support base that shares our burdens and our triumphs.

    Some stumbling blocks that I face personally are worrying, trying to or believing that i need to “earn” God’s love, and living outside of the will of God. These conditions tend to come with struggles. But as Cheryl says, “we can choose joy in the journey”. We can see joy as a way to live with struggle and outlast any suffering. This is the dichotomy of joy – the serious side. The kind you fight for by cutting off your hand (Matt. 5:30) and selling your possessions (Matt. 13:44) and carrying a cross with Jesus to Calvary (Matt. 10:38-39). Joy has scars. It sings happy songs with tears. It remembers the dark hours and knows more may be coming. The road to heaven is hard but the reward is immeasurable.

    As I attended the Matthew West concert Sunday night, I couldn’t stop the tears. Although my story is unique, I could relate to so many of his lyrics. My tears came from a place of sorrow, but were shed in joy. I know that I am not alone. I am in God’s protection and surrounded by an incredible church family in Eastridge. And with God’s grace I will see eternal life. I will fix my eyes on the all-satisfying treasure of Jesus Christ who loved us so much that he gave his life as a ransom for our everlasting joy.

  2. Tammy T says:

    I came back to this today because I needed a reminder that my circumstances shouldn’t determine my joy. I am humbled by this woman’s comment & attitude! I’m not where I want to be. I need a little fruit of the Spirit right about now; peace, joy, self control to name a few. I want to be able to say “I’m living the dream” & mean it.

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