Psalm 149:3-5 "Let them praise His name in festive dance, make music...for the LORD takes delight in His people...Let the faithful rejoice in their glory, cry out for joy at their banquet."
I've been pondering the meaning of joy lately. Probably due to this fabulous lady who takes joy, and her lovely daughter who literally is Joy.
I've been musing onwhat it means to "be joyful" and how that applies to every situation in our messy, scatterbrained, absolutely-unperfect lives.
I think I've come to discover living a life of joy doesn't mean being happy and a bright beam of sunshine every moment. It doesn't mean being "joyful" all the time....being one of those people that is unceasingly-through-the-roof-perky. It doesn't mean always having a smile plastered to your face and saying, "Oh, even though this is a very difficult time in my life right now/I'm really stressed out/feeling helpless/like I've taken on too much to handle, I'm so happy and joyful about this burden in my life."
I think we can all honestly agree none of us have ever felt like that or thought that! But thankfully that's not what living joyfully is.
It's seeking out the little moments in life that bring you joy.
It's celebrating the ordinary occasions that make life special.
It's lifting up the happy moments with a joyful heart.
It's devoting time and energy to your passions - the things that make your heart go pitter-patter. Because God would have never given us talents and passions if He didn't want us to pursue and take joy in them!
It's accepting the trials, the overcast horizons, the tumultuous and stormy days, the rough and sticky patches, the puddles, the spilt milk, the overturned bowls, and the hopes dashed....it's accepting and acknowledging all these things.
And knowing that it will pass.
That the sun's hiding just behind the clouds. And just because everything's going to a-rather-hot-place-in-a-handbasket doesn't mean the world's over - even if it feels like it sometimes.
(Phil.4:4) "Rejoice in the LORD always. I say it again: rejoice!"
God gave us an entire world filled with His amazing, fantastic, breathtaking Creation to enjoy. He wants us to live a life of joy! He understands, better than anyone, the weight of a Cross and what it feels like to fall down. But after the Cross came Easter Sunday - a day of sheer, overwhelming, breath-catching, dazzling joy. So why wouldn't He want us to live our lives like that?
Even all of Creation is supposed to praise Him. (Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13) "Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; announce His salvation day after day...Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the seas and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them."
I believe living joyfully is deciding to find and celebrate joy in your own life. Elevating the ordinary to the extra-ordinary.
Waking up early to enjoy the calm and magic of a sunrise.
Sipping a cup of coffee or tea or cocoa in the afternoon.
Treating yourself to a piece of dark chocolate "just because."
Surprising a friend with a lunch date.
Delving into a good book.
Taking time for the mental and physical refreshment of a nap, even if you have dishes to do.
Making your favorite special dinner during the week.
To me, living joyfully means living a life worth living. Not making a list and saying "These are the things I want to do someday" or thinking to myself, "When I get this and that done, then I'll have time to do the things I enjoy." Living joyfully means doing them now. :)
One of the things in my life that gives me the greatest joy is writing. Whether it's writing in my many notebooks (I counted once and I have 27!), on the Note app on my phone, or here on this blog, it brings me joy. I especially love writing this blog and sharing with you. I wake up excited to write on here + share my heart. I love this. I love words. It brings me joy - which is why I want to write for a living!
So I say to you, find that something you love. Find what makes you happy, what makes your heart flutter, what makes you do happy dance, what makes you feel complete. And do that thing often.
Live a life joyfully by filling it with the things that bring YOU joy.
When you take joy in your life - when you live a life of joy by pursuing what brings you joy - you give glory to Him who made you. Because after all, He created us for Joy. :)
What's one thing you absolutely love? Baking scones, putting together outfits, acting, creating a fabulous craft, dancing? If you could do anything - no matter how crazy or unlikely - for a living, what would it be?
Me: novelist, cookbook author, cafe owner, head of my own online empire, professional traveler, frozen yogurt flavors tester, and actor for the Royal Shakespeare Company! (I like to dream big ;)