Joy can be elusive.
Let me start off by saying I’ve not always had joy in my heart. I’m not one of those super Christians who felt joy in sorrow or in the midst of pain. I’m one of those depressing Christians who only felt pain. So this year when I experienced pure joy I realized one thing.
I never want to live without it.
For years it’s eluded me and now that I have it I’m holding on for dear life. Our church recently held its annual ladies retreat and our theme of keep choosing joy stays in the fore front of my mind. Many spoke and I furiously took notes on the collective characteristics pointed out to me.
Our retreat runs Friday through Sunday, so let me back up a bit to Friday night. After completing set up all day Friday, and losing a battle with a migraine, my bed sounded heavenly.
I couldn’t sleep well because so many ladies were playing games, fellow-shipping and breaking out in song ever so often (I’m not sure I ever figured out what that was about). As I lay in my bed in the darkness of the room trying to sleep off this migraine, something different happened.
Every time those loud ladies broke out into song instead of getting mad and aggravated, a smile crept across my face. Even though I had a migraine, they had joy. And that’s what the weekend was all about. It did my heart good to know they connected and bonded as sisters in Christ. Their singing proved that. And their joy became contagious.
So after I took in all the weekend had to offer I compiled a list of thoughts and phrases I learned about joy.
15 characteristics to keep choosing joy:
- Often received after sorrow.
- Can be in the form of a song
- It is a decision and a choice.
- A fruit of God’s spirit.
- Not just a feeling, but a motivation that comes from deep in my soul.
- Cannot live in a negative environment.
- Sometimes people, places or things must be eliminated to achieve it.
- Must be surrounded by other joyful people, places or things.
- Comes from focusing on others and not myself.
- Achieved through hard work, accountability and through the help of people.
- It is contagious.
- Does not compare nor does it brag
- There is joy in salvation
- A simple taste of what heaven will be like.
As I have journeyed through this new year, joy is something I want to experience every single day. But not only that, it’s an experience I want to share!
How do you keep choosing joy? And how do you share it?