Thursday, October 1, 2015

31 Days of Intentional Joy: What is Joy?



What is joy?

Dictionary.com lists these definitions:

  • A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight 
  • The emotion of great delight, caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying
  • The expression or display of glad feeling
  • A state of happiness

google.com states that joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Merriam Webster (my personal preference) defines joy as:

  • a feeling of great happiness
  • a source or cause of great happiness
  • success in doing, finding, or getting something
whereas happiness is defined as:
  • a state of well being and contentment
  • a pleasurable or satisfying experience
Happiness sounds kinda boring if you ask me. 

And joy...well, I'm not too thrilled with these definitions. They all sound like something's missing. Maybe that's because true joy cannot be defined. It must be experienced.


Kay Warren, in a devotional on joy, explains it like this:

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.

Now THAT makes sense to me.

Happiness is fleeting, dependent upon circumstances; temporary dependent upon experiences. It's an emotion that flits and flutters like a bird, always moving; waxes and wanes like the moon, always changing.

I can be happy and not know joy. I know this because I've experienced it.

Conversely, I can be joyful and not be happy--I know this too, because I've lived it

Happiness depends on my mood and relies on my experiences.

Joy...well, joy is not so much dependent on me. It's dependent on the source. 

And as long as I try to make myself the source, I will always fall short of creating my own joy, because I am a human with human emotions, none of which can be trusted to be reliable or consistent. Joy must be found outside of ourselves-in, from and because of our Creator.

I am happy that I get to write. I'm happy when I share my thoughts with the world on my blog, even though a small fraction of the world actually reads it. That's okay, I'm happy for the ones that do!

But I find joy in the words that take shape on the screen. I choose joy when I sit to write even if I have nothing to say. Joy comes if I invite it, because God comes when I invite Him, and God is joy!


Over the next 30 days, I'll be intentionally choosing, finding, and sharing joy--the kind of joy that only comes from serving a loving and living God. I hope you'll join me. And if time allows, read some other great 31-Day topics here.

As I post new content, I'll include the links here:

Day 1:   What is Joy?
Day 2:   Finding Joy in Music
Day 3:   Crockpot Joy
Day 4:   The Joy of an "Aha!" Moment
Day 5:   The Joy of a Transformed Garden
Day 6:    Little Pockets of Joy: Tucking it Away for Later
Day 7:   The Joy of 28 Years of a Daughter's Firsts
Day 8:   The Joy of Sharing in Someone Else's Joy
Day 9:   Daughter/Mother Joy-Part II
Day 10: The Joy of Squashing a Fantasy
Day 11: The Joy of Resisting Resistance
Day 12: Simple Joys: The Perfect Egg
Day 13: The Joy of Routine
Day 14: The Joy of Discipline
Day 15: The Joy of Multiple Giveaways!
Day 16: How a Hip-Hop Song Taught Me to Be Me
Day 17: The Joy of Enough
Day 18: Finding Joy in Today
Day 19: The Joy of Crushing, "What Will People Think?"
Day 20: The Joy of Autumn
Day 21: Spreading Joy and Encouragement
Day 22: Joy in the Ordinary and Mundane
Day 23: Friends of Joy
Day 24: Friends of Joy: Kindness
Day 25: Goodness and Mercy! 
Day 26: There is Joy is Resting
Day 27: Receive With Joy
Day 28: Sadness: A Surprising Friend of Joy
Day 29: Empathy for Those Who Cannot Find Joy
Day 30: Party at Sunset with Joy and Friends
Day 31: I Am Not Just a Statistic

What brings you joy? I'd love to read your comments below.

Blessings of Joy,
Mare

6 comments:

  1. "Happiness depends on my mood and relies on my experiences." Yes! And for me, it is never a very good idea for something to depend on my mood! I consider happiness to be circumstantial, while joy is relational. I experience joy, for instance, when I watch my daughters dance with their Christian studio because of the relationship I have with them and the relationship they have with the Lord of the dance! Looking forward to this series, Mary.

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    1. Elizabeth, I love that: "Happiness is circumstantial, while joy is relational." Wish I'd thought of that. I guess I kind of did, but you said it more succinctly. Mine took a whole post haha. And dancing unto the Lord-love it!

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  2. Love this. It is why I always sign my work with Joy! Even when the surface me is overwhelmed with less than bliss. Joy remains because He is Christ in me. So, it's always a good day.
    Joy!
    Kathy

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  3. Joy is one of the words that I ponder. I had a first hand view of joy recently. Visiting my Mom in the Nursing home (she's 96) I noticed one lady in particular; her name is Shirley. I knew Shirley when I was young, and she had a birth defect that made it very difficult to walk, and also slurred her words. Her brain worked fine, she was intelligent. In the nursing home, she is completely unaware of her surroundings, does not remember anyone, and is a lost person who continually looks for her husband, who passed away 12 years ago. As I was in Chapel with my Mom on Sunday morning, we were singing some "old" hymns. Observing Shirley, I noticed that she was mouthing, PERFECTLY, the words to the songs. So even in this end of her earthly being, God has found a way for Shirley to continue to praise Him. What JOY this brought to my heart!

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    1. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing that, Pam! I have heard the same type of story with Alzheimer's patients. How can anyone doubt that there is a God?!

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