Looking for joy.

(A guest post from Char Binkley)

JoyThe first line of the article startled me: “Christians lose their JOY more often than they lose their car keys or cell phones.”  It further explained the possibility, even necessity, of JOY in the life of someone who follows Jesus, no matter the circumstances.

I asked myself, “What is authentic joy? What would it mean in my life?” That day I began my JOY journey, determined to choose JOY as a lifestyle.

I knew the difference between happiness and JOY. Happiness is the feeling when good things happen to us. I experienced the ups and downs of that all my life. But JOY dwells deep in the soul whether life is filled with good things or inundated with pain. Could I choose to live with that rooted, unshakable JOY, flowing continually from my soul!

That day, I declared that I would keep learning, longing to have JOY beyond circumstance. But how would it come? And for a few uneventful days I actually felt joyful. I could celebrate it.

But then the challenge came. I awoke with a feeling of being in a dark pit due to seemingly impossible issues that our family was facing. I couldn’t talk myself into a better place. If JOY had truly been abounding in my soul, it was now absent. I cried out to God. “Lord, where is my JOY? How can it become permanent in my soul?”

I remembered reading that gratitude is the “engine starter” for JOY. I began thanking God, even though I didn’t feel like it, for the bed I had been sleeping in, for the morning light, for the carpet my feet would hit. Then I progressed to thanks for His love, for my future home in Heaven, for His reminder that I am a Joy to Him.

Gratitude unlocked the door to JOY in my soul!

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I’ve known Char for decades. She’s helped me refocus several times. That’s why I asked her to help us reflect on Joy. She also graciously wrote the Foreword for Saint John of the Mall, available in paperback and Kindle.