What fills or drains your joy tank? From scientific research, Ingrid F Lee cites that ‘circles’ and ‘curves’ deliver more joy than other shapes, while ‘jaggy edged’ objects do the opposite. She asks, if joy is so important to us, why surround ourselves with architecture, décor, workspace and things that leak joy? Considering what clutter to hitch, stitch or ditch, Marie Kondo suggests THE deciding question is, “Does it spark joy?” If not, let it go!
What brings you joy? Finding a perfect gift for someone, receiving something special, scoring (or watching) an exquisite goal, meeting a new friend, baking or tasting something sensational, walking, cycling, hiking or jogging through beauty?
What drains your joy? The Dementors ‘scurry, worry, hurry & flurry’, incessant media bad news, personal perfectionist tendencies, negative: people, ideas, memories or self-image, which hang over and follow you like a travelling fog?
There’s an unrealistic ‘no-problem’ mindset that rarely allows sorrow and sadness in, and an
intense pseudo-spirituality, which constantly fronts a ‘plastic smile’ of JOY, unable to admit or accept that bad things happen to good people. Sadness, Sorrow and Lament are vital emotions given to help us process life’s awful and grim realities. We can deny our pain for a while, but eventually we must try to work through the grief that loss brings (e.g. loss of: innocence, integrity, loved ones, ability). Bury Sorrow and it can bite us on the bum, an emotional monster rising within, hard to understand or tame. Deep JOY is the flip-side to SORROW, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b)
“The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can’t stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope–and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend up on it) disappoint us.” –Walter Wangerin Jr.
Joy spontaneously comes from within, while happiness is from external circumstances. We are made for ‘something more’ and JOY, fruit of God’s Spirit, is a daily gift we can receive or reject. Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full.” (John 15:11) and St Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I’ll say it again, Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). Finding ourselves inside Jesus’ Big Picture and Purpose of Love, which reaches down into the depths of our pain and sorrow to raise us into newness of life, even eternal life, encourages us to daily look for and practice JOY. How deprived we would be without JOY! Seeking JOY is wanting more of JESUS. Jesus first, Yourself last, and Others in-between.
‘For your joy and mine’ Jesus laid aside might and majesty to ‘step down’ and ‘lift us up’ (uplift us) that first Christmas (cf. Hebrews 12:2) and ever since. Friends, JOY is both Gift and Choice – To Be ENJOYED! (‘IN-JOYED’).