The Miracle Of Joy
A miraculous thing has happened in my life recently, something so beautiful that it must be shared.
I have learnt to live life with real joy. Joy is not the same as happiness, which is situational. Rather, joy is an attitude, a spirit of thanksgiving & peace & contentment, as well as the knowledge that God is in control & that I'm resting in Him.
Happiness is a wonderful gift & I love to be happy. I try to do things that make me happy, & I love it when I make others, especially those closest to me, happy. I like the silly kind of happy that leaves me giddy, & I love the happiness that comes from knowing I'm in a good place & when good things happen. So I'm not saying that happiness is a bad thing. Not by any means, as long as you're not happy because someone else has misfortune that they did not earn. Not that I'm ever happy when someone's suffering for any reason, even when it's something they deserve. I've been in places where I'm having struggles & they're because of stuff I've done, & I don't want that for anyone. Remorse, yes, & a willingness to make up for what's been done wrong. However, I'm not happy about stuff like that.
Instead, I like to share the happiness of those I care about, & they like to share the happiness in my own life. I believe that that's part of joy.
One of my very dearest friends - Kyla, or HBOO, as she'll be called her sometimes (my nickname for her is "Honey Bunches Of Oats," & I'm her "Weetabix" :)) - has made it very clear to me that she's always happy to hear about the good in my life, even if she's in a very bad place. That's part of joy, I believe - the ability to rejoice for others even in the midst of her own pain & trials, & she's come through a lot. HBOO's really one of THE most joyful people I know, & her face shows it with her huge smile & great laugh.
I'm thankful for joy. I'm thankful that there's always something for which to be thankful. I'm thankful for love. I'm thankful for life. Yes, I'm a thankful person. Yet this hasn't always been so, & I have to guard against disatisfaction & bitterness & depression (mine's situational, not chemical) & anger often. I have to guard my heart so that I don't return to the place from whence I was recently. I don't want to go back there again!
Recently a friend of mine - Michelle Kav. (I'm also Michelle K, & so I a little more of her surname to distinguish us) - gave Tina (a woman in a group I'm in) & I Habakkuk 3:17-19, which I'll post here from The Message:
Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Thought the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Saviour God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!
(For congregational use, with a full orchestra.)
OK, so I didn't need to put in that last bit, but I wanted to. I love that it's a song! Sometimes I'd love to know what these songs originally sounded like.
It's so true, though! Joy is an amazing thing & a miracle to someone like me who's been down & angry & depressed & frustrated & bitter for almost 3 1/2 years. God's been working in me the whole time, as He always has, but it was only when I stopped & listened & decided to let Him have His way in my life that things started to get better. I'm not talking situationally - 2 weeks + 1 day ago, I lost my current job. It's been a huge struggle to not return to my former attitude, but God's proving to be faithful & the great provider.
I got a call today that I start my brand new job this coming Wednesday instead of at the end of April as I'd originally been told. Praise God for this! Whoohoo! I'm just getting over the flu, & this news was a great bit of tonic for me.
One thing that I hope comes of my journey is that someone else will benefit from it & learn from my experiences. I pray that people are blessed & encouraged & will take from this the lesson that joy comes in the morning & that God is always there. Even when it doesn't feel like it, even when it seems as if He's left someone out for the wolves to feast on, He hasn't. He's always got His children in His hands, & that's the only place I really want to be. :)