Have you ever wondered what joy is? Joy is deeper than happiness. Joy comes from deep within our soul. It is a gift from God.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentlenesses, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22 NLT
Joy is knowing that no matter what is going on around us, we can trust God to make everything work for good. By contrast, happiness depends on what happens to us. If our circumstances are good and we feel happy, we may have a feeling of happiness.
Debi was eight years old when I asked her, “When was the last time you felt joy?”
“I feel joy every day,” she said.
Life was a Great Adventure in Learning and Discovering
Debi went from one event to the next experiencing each moment to the fullest. Whether it was learning to swim or rescuing a baby bird who had fallen from its nest Debi found joy in every encounter. Her creative mind knew no limits or fear when she wanted something. She took delight in all life brought. She looked at the world with wonder, freedom and great expectation.
Joy is Having the Freedom to Enjoy Each Moment
Joy is an expectation rather than fear, creativity rather than bondage. It is seeing the good that can come from the most devastating situations. It is a feeling of exhilaration that comes from a mind that knows no limits.
Happiness and joy can be present at the same time. Happiness is based on what is happening: experiencing material things or events, receiving a gift, graduating from college, or celebrating a birthday.
Joy from God Runs Deeper
Joy from God runs deeper; it can be present even during unhappy times. On a short mission trip to Uganda, I saw the poverty that far exceeded anything I had ever seen in the United States. I saw an epidemic of malaria that tortured people of all ages. They had one doctor with thousands of people who needed help. The doctor had no money to buy medical supplies and road a bike to one village after another. The small villages were at risk of being attacked by “The Lord’s Resistance Army” who burned the villages, killed the parents, and put their children in slavery.
Even with sickness, poverty, and danger, they were the most joyful children and people I had ever seen. I heard no complaining. The children were happy even though most of them had malaria. I never once saw a parent yell or hit a child. These parents loved and guided them in the way they were to go. The children sang songs and gave us eggs and coca-cola, which was a great sacrifice for them. These parents loved God, each other, and their children. Their hearts were filled with love, joy, and peace that only God can give through His Holy Spirit.
Joy in Troubled Times CHALLENGE
Over the coming days, I want to inspire and challenge you to make a choice each morning to be more joyful. Here’s why I decided to create this challenge: Because joy is a choice, and a choice we make every single day. I want to challenge you to make it a habit.
Changing our habits and how we approach life requires time and daily, conscious decisions. That’s where the challenge comes into play. When you participate in the challenge, you will receive a daily reminder via email to visit this blog, read an inspiring article, and complete a short reflection. When you complete the challenge, you will have formed new habits, new ways of thinking, and new ways to look at situations in life as they unfold. With a little shift in thinking and perception, you can have a more joyful and fulfilling life. I hope this challenge will help you get there.
My Challenge to You Today = Join the Joy in Troubled Times Challenge today!
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