Finding True Joy1:00:00 PM
It is one of the most difficult jobs in the world being a parent. We are "on" 24/7 and there are no sick days or paid time off, rather no pay check at all. We have to balance raising our little humans with all of our other daily responsibilities. Laundry, dishes, any other household chores, cooking meals, getting kiddos to and from school and other activities and let's not forget finding the time and energy to be with our partners and make them feel loved as well. I am literally exhausted just thinking about all of the things I have to do some days.
We obviously all have to be a little crazy though, because we keep having children and we somehow manage to love our lives (most of the time) even among the chaos. How is it that we can still find joy even when most days we just want to curl up in a little ball in our closets and cry? The baby is screaming, the toddler has dropped food all over the floor for the fifth time, the laundry is piled up to your eyeballs, there are dishes spilling out of the sink and it's not even 9AM. Have you been there? Me too.
I think to discover how to have true joy, we first have to figure out what joy really means and where it comes from. The dictionary defines joy as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. However, the Bible defines joy (basically) as something that is not dependent upon our circumstances, rather a permanent feeling of confidence and assurance we have even when our circumstances may not necessarily be "exceptionally good".
So we can see that if we are looking to find joy as the world defines it, there will be plenty of times we will be struggling, because happiness is fleeting and there will be many times in all of our lives when things are not necessarily enjoyable or delightful.
I love the way that Pastor Rick Warren defined joy as "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."
For me this has been life changing! Understanding that joy is not dependent upon whatever I am walking through right in this moment. It is not dependent upon my children being perfectly well behaved or whatever shape my body is in or whether or not my home is picture perfect. Joy is a choice AND a gift. It is something I choose to have even when the waters are rough. It is something that God gives to me (and you) as believers so that we can stand out in a world which thinks joy is dependent upon happy circumstances. It is a source of strength when everything may be falling apart.
We can rest assured that this life will not be easy and we will have plenty of days when we feel like we are failing at being a parent or a wife or just a woman, but we can still choose to have joy. Cling to the creator of the Universe and giver of true joy as your source of strength to find and have joy in all of life's circumstances. Whether they are happy or sad or frustrating or beautiful or devastating.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. "