Joy! What a wonderful feeling when we have it. It can feel like we are walking on air.
In the Bible we are commanded to have joy in all situations. We are to consider it joy even when we experience trials. That is not easy to do. But it does not say anywhere that having joy at difficult times will make sense.
There are times when depression creeps up on me. At such times it is very difficult to sense joy. But I am not alone. The internet has millions of people searching “how to find joy” let alone people searching for (the circumstantial) happiness which is totally different. Happiness is based on circumstances and comes and goes just as quickly. Joy is something we are going to have to choose and develop and maintain. Happiness can help lead us to joy and I will get to that at the end of this post. For now, let’s talk about joy.
When we take the long view of our lives– that we will spend eternity in heaven as promised, we have much to contribute to our sense of joy. We need to keep in the forefront of our thoughts that God is active in our lives, wants the best for us, and loves us unendingly.
Here are a couple things to incorporate into your day:
Make praise and gratitude a habit. When you pray, start each prayer with 5 things you are grateful for and thank God for them.
Fill your mind with music. Listen to, sing, and meditate on music that draws your heart nearer to God and His Word.
If you are going to think deeply or repeatedly about something then dwell on all the reasons you trust God. Wherever you are, take a few moments to remember all that He has done for you in the past, all that He has seen you through. Give Him thanks and praise His name. Be joyful in His presence.
Write down what brings you joy in general. Some people keep a journal just for JOY. They write in it daily. But if that is too much for you to remember regularly, take a minute when you are having a difficult time and write out several things that bring you joy. Then keep that list with you the rest of the day. Remind yourself that there is good in the world. Things will not always be tough. Just the act of writing positive things down will help alter your mind. Plus, where thoughts tend to come and go –then leave our focus, having a written account will help keep joy in our mind.
Surround yourself with joyful people. Joy is contagious, so is negativity. Try to eliminate or minimize negative relationships. Then cultivate strong connections with people who exhibit joy on a regular basis.
Remember that the trials that come our way produce character within us. Our hardest lessons can be seen as gifts from God that stretch us into better people who have endurance and will be able to help others later, in similar situations.
So how and where do we find joy?
I went to the Bible to find the answers since that is where we are told to have it. Here are several verses that give us the source of joy.
1 Chronicles 16:27 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling
Psalm 16:11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Psalm 19:8 The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.
Psalm 119:1-3 Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.
Proverbs 16:20 Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.
Psalm 126:5 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.
Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us,[c] and by our sincere love. 7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy
Psalm 4:7 You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
1 Peter 1:6-8 6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
2 Corinthians 1:2-7 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
Joy may take a little while to develop to the point where it is an ongoing emotion for you. So, in the mean time, here are 48 ways to spark happiness. Starting here may help spur you onto the activities that will produce joy.
- Do something you’ve always enjoyed.
- Learn something new.
- Spend time with a good friend.
- Say, or sing, something that makes you happy.
- Look at something that makes you happy.
- Check out a live animal cam on explore.org,
- Stop procrastinating, do something.
- Take a small step towards your goal.
- Congratulate yourself.
- Tell someone you love them.
- Do a good deed.
- Face your fears.
- Read a book you love.
- Get outside.
- Read about someone who inspires you.
- Clear out your junk, literally.
- Dwell on positive things from your past
- Be creative.
- Do something unexpected.
- Watch the sunset.
- Get up for sunrise
- Be active.
- Plan for success.
- Follow your passion.
- Keep a diary.
- Set a goal.
- Clean your house, bit by bit.
- Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to for a while.
- Be present.
- Have a meal somewhere different: try a picnic or a new restaurant.
- Play a game
- Do something you’ve been putting off.
- Dream big.
- Start small.
- Persevere: pick up something you gave up on.
- Start a new habit, a good one.
- Look around for funny things and have a laugh.
- Change your routine.
- Stretch your body.
- Notice what makes you happy and use it in sad times.
- Put a picture of something you want on your wall.
- Be grateful.
- Use your brain: crosswords or Sudoku.
- Go on a journey, long or short.
Be grateful for life.
Until Next Time~