In Others’ Words: Joy

I like to tell people that I don’t aim for happiness because happiness is based on circumstances — and circumstances come and go so quickly that there’s no way to get a firm grasp on happiness.

Instead, I’ve learned to search for joy, something deeper and more substantial than tissue-paper-thin happiness. Joy anchors me no matter what the day holds. I have a choice: to let despair overwhelm me — and shove me over the cliffs — or to choose to remember the reason(s) I have to be joy-filled.

Reasons to be joyful can be hidden in a song … or a Scripture verse … or the voice of my husband or one of my kiddos or a close friend … and Joy can be hidden in silence, when I sit and wait for God’s presence to wash over me, reminding me that I am accepted and loved with an everlasting love.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIV)

In Your Words: Where do you find joy?

Where do you find joy? Click to Tweet

What’s the difference between happiness & joy? Click to Tweet 

I’m talking about red cowboy boots & growing up over at my friend, Jill Kemerer’s blog today! I hope you stop by. 

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26 Comments

  1. May 13, 2013, 6:16 am   /  Reply

    Beth, this is quite interesting to think about: while happiness happens by an outside force, we can actively choose joy, no matter what. In writing terms, it’s comparable to passive vs. active voice. I choose joy today! Thanks for this post.

    • May 13, 2013, 12:07 pm   /  Reply

      Elaine: Love the passive vs. active voice analogy!

  2. May 13, 2013, 6:48 am   /  Reply

    Joy comes from abiding in Christ. Doesn’t matter what circumstances I’m in, because not all of them make me happy, I can still find joy if I’m rooted in Him. Loved this post and that quote, Beth!

    • May 13, 2013, 12:08 pm   /  Reply

      Jess: remembering that I am “rooted” in Christ is so, so vital to JOY!

  3. May 13, 2013, 6:53 am   /  Reply

    Sometimes joy is as simple as chocolate or a favorite song. God brings us God, but he also gives us joy in the little things we love.

    • May 13, 2013, 12:08 pm   /  Reply

      Little things: a song, a smile, jelly beans, a hug … a perfectly timed IM … 🙂

  4. May 13, 2013, 7:03 am   /  Reply

    Love this post, Beth. And the verse? One of my all time favorites. 🙂 So glad you quoted it today.

    I find joy in the beauty of a sunrise, the sense of God’s presence in a tough situation, in one of my boys’ hugs. The simplest things can fill me with joy.

    • May 13, 2013, 12:09 pm   /  Reply

      The verse seemed perfect for today … I’m glad you like it too!

  5. May 13, 2013, 7:39 am   /  Reply

    Last night, after my husband and two of my three boys returned from a weekend away(hockey), we were sitting in the living room chatting and playing with our dog. Our 19 year old son has a summer job as a tree planter. This job is grueling and he is up and gone by 4:20 am each day. He is eating an extra 3000 calories a day to keep moving. On Friday, he planted 700 tree seedlings. SEVEN HUNDRED. I can barely weed my garden!!!

    John was laying on the couch and stretched and then groaned. “Ohhhh, man, I am have a meeting at 9am.”
    Chris very calmly looked up and said “I have a meeting at 5am.”
    We all laughed so hard. John looked at his 6’2′ baby and said “Well, I can never complain again, can I?”
    “Nope.”

    Joy is in those moments when laughter is shared and the air is bittersweet with the unspoken knowledge that your sweet, loving boy is a now a man.

    • May 13, 2013, 12:09 pm   /  Reply

      I smiled as I read your comment, Jennifer. JOY is often perspective. 🙂

  6. Katie Beth
    May 13, 2013, 8:15 am   /  Reply

    Thank you for sharing a reminder of perspective. On this Monday (and here on out) I want to choose joy no matter what!
    Love you, Mom!

    • May 13, 2013, 12:07 pm   /  Reply

      Love you too, daughter-mine. You give me much JOY!

  7. May 13, 2013, 9:04 am   /  Reply

    Right now, I tend to find joy in nature and art and creativity. And in good friends who listen and who are so supportive. And in my family, though I don’t see them as much as I’d like! But I agree, joy is a choice no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. Joy can be found in both big things and in little things (like the wonderful spring weekend we just had!).

    • May 13, 2013, 12:06 pm   /  Reply

      Teryn,
      Joy is all around us, as you said. Sometimes I have to remind myself to look up, open my eyes, see it, and embrace it.

  8. May 13, 2013, 9:18 am   /  Reply

    Understanding the difference between happiness and joy is crucial if we are to remain standing when the storms of life hit. My joy comes from contentment in Christ. He is everything I need. If I don’t have it today, I don’t need it today because He provides my all in His perfect timing. It took a lot of years for God to instill contentment in my hard head!

    • May 13, 2013, 12:05 pm   /  Reply

      “If I don’t have it today, I don’t need it today … ” – great perspective, Donna!

  9. May 13, 2013, 9:40 am   /  Reply

    I love that we’re riding the same wave today, Beth! Yay for joy! It’s such a complex thing–yet a simple thing, really. Hope in Christ, even when all else seems to be going wrong. Hope in the midst of affliction, at the height of the mountain. Joy stays no matter what the circumstances that surround us.

    • May 13, 2013, 12:04 pm   /  Reply

      Me too, Lindsay, me too! 🙂

  10. May 13, 2013, 10:28 am   /  Reply

    First, I love Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I met her when I was a little girl and she left a deep impression on me. I also met many of her children and grandchildren when I worked at the Lindbergh House for ten years. Anne knew the real meaning of joy after living a hard life, filled with disappointment, despair and loneliness. She saw the world through an amazing lens. I HIGHLY recommend reading her personal journals. She was fascinating, to say the least.

    The greatest source of joy for me is in the Word of God. I am always amazed at the power the Word contains. I also find joy in my relationship with my husband. Sometimes, just talking to him and airing my concerns chasing away discouragement. I take joy in my children (I can’t even write that sentence without smiling), in my community, in my extended family and in my writing. I love to do what God created me to do. I feel it is the greatest example of worship–which brings great, unshakable joy.

    • May 13, 2013, 12:04 pm   /  Reply

      Wow, Gabe — you met Anne Morrow Lindbergh?! That is over-the-moon amazing!!
      I appreciate your insights today … I think you could have written today’s blog post!

  11. May 13, 2013, 10:36 am   /  Reply

    Beth, I love your definition of happiness vs. joy! I’d never thought of it that way. Joy is probably my favorite word in Christian vernacular. When I hear it, I always think of the lyrics to the song JOY to the World… the Lord is come. He is the wellspring of our joy.

    • May 13, 2013, 12:03 pm   /  Reply

      I love how you connected today’s post to the song “Joy to the World.” My most favorite word in the Christian vernacular is “reconciliation.”

  12. May 13, 2013, 11:52 am   /  Reply

    Great words & pic again. In adolescent youth group, they taught us a song, “Jesus and Others and You–what a wonderful way to spell JOY.” And I know the pic is Irelands cliffs of Moher–makes me want to visit again. Thanks, Beth

    • May 13, 2013, 12:02 pm   /  Reply

      Oh the places you’ll go … that’s your theme song, Dee!

  13. May 13, 2013, 5:04 pm   /  Reply

    Happiness is fine, but joy is what you have when the music fades. It’s a kiss from God. And you have to be grounded in Him to see joy in something that’s less than happy.

  14. May 13, 2013, 9:48 pm   /  Reply

    I’m sure for all my life I’ll never read a better description of happiness than tissue-paper-thin. That’s good, Beth. Makes me want to cling even more to the depth of joy.

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