Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…
In our last blog post we discussed the fruit of LOVE. Today let’s look at the fruit of JOY. I have often read that happiness is something external, while joy indwells us internally and wells up to overflowing in spite of external circumstances. To me, joy empowers us to look past the momentary, the here and now, the junk that is bombarding you from the outside, to find the riches inside that can bring you back to yourself and your meaning. It also helps me when I am tempted to choose something that is not in my best interest for my long-term greater good. For example, it might bring me momentary happiness to release my anger/words on another and tell them off. However, later on I might regret that decision where I used verbal bullets to kill a friendship or relationship. I might succumb to that calorie/fat-laden meal that would cause my taste buds to go into a drunken frenzy for a moment, until tomorrow when I suffer from bloat and a carb hangover (and extra weight) that completely sabotaged my long term health goal . I could choose to drink my pain away one night for a few hours of alcohol bliss-laced forgetfulness, only to wake up with the same problems complicated by a wicked hangover.
And by the way, let me just confess here and now, I know all these regrets by experience… .and then some. So I am totally not coming from a judgmental holier-than-thou position here! Just sayin’…
What brings you deep, lasting joy in every cell of your being? For me, it is knowing I am living in the purpose God has enabled me to be. It is in a quiet moment of being in nature when I can hear a bird’s song or the grass under my feet, smelling earth and pine needles and a babbling brook. It is in taking the time, even when perhaps inconvenient, to show the love I feel to family and friends. It is in rising above my selfish self and giving of myself, be it a friendly smile, or a random act of kindness. It is in the beauty of a remembered song that laces itself around my heart like a butterfly’s wings, or the healing of an essential oil that streams into my head and dances into my body. It is in the early morning moments with God, spending time in His word, quietly worshiping him in a softly sung old hymn as a gift to Him. It is in the remembrance of my daughter’s beautiful smile or my mother’s hand in mine. These are my joys, along with many others, that I bring out like precious jewels on the days when happiness is elusive and I have had a day that slammed into me with all the force of a cesspool tsunami.
So tell me, when all else around you crumbles, where deep inside you can you find the joy that keeps you going? I recommend in starting by keeping a journal of gratitude, blessings and things that bring you joy. Write down everything, anything. Then, when you are in a time of heartbreak, sadness or just plain blue funk, you can refer back to your journal and read the notes you wrote to yourself for such a time. Next up will be PEACE, so stay tuned! And feel free to continue this conversation on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lindabushcannon!
CALL TO ACTION: Find or do something that seeps beyond happiness into joy. Try one of these joy-makers I use:
A book that made a huge difference for me is Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts”: http://amzn.to/2vm0WHE.
I am also a journal junkie, and love the gift of writing in a beautiful journal. One of my favorites is here: http://amzn.to/2vlSkAN. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be lovely and inviting!
Additionally, I love to diffuse doTERRA’s Elevation essential oil blend (or rub it on my feet and temples) when I need a “joy pick-me-up”. You can find the blend here: bit.ly/cccoils.