Where does joy come from?
There is a danger in counting on our joy to come from external factors in this world. Author, advocate and pastor’s wife Kay Warren discusses her journey of understanding joy.
“Joy actually has nothing to do with the externals. Before long, all the things that we’ve put our very fragile hopes for joy in can shift and change around us. Because it is such a fragile thing, joy is, it can’t be in those externals because they can be lost.”
Joy relies on a firm foundation.
“It has to be in something or someone that doesn’t change or shift, will never leave us, who will never forsake us, never change. That leaves us with God.”
“God is the only source of joy that cannot be taken; cannot change, will not abandon us, and therefore I can choose to trust in that unchangeable God. When I do, then joy is something that occurs in my soul.”
Choosing joy on a daily basis might come naturally for some people, but for others it’s a longer process. Kay explains her previous struggles with receiving joy,
“I lived with a low level of depression for most of my life so I’m really not one of those people that comes naturally to joy; I’m definitely a glass half empty kind of person.”
“But yet when I read the bible, there was this discrepancy between what I experienced of joy in my life, and what it seemed that the bible was teaching. So I was just determined to get to the bottom of this, ‘How could I experience the joy that it seemed like I was supposed to be experiencing as a believer in Jesus Christ?’”
After recognizing the source of joy, Kay was determined to understand what defines it. She shares some of her research,
“I read this one definition that said something like, ‘Joy is when we are confident or assured that God is in control of the details of our lives.’ I liked that, but I felt like it didn’t maybe go quite far enough for me.”
As a personal and helpful resource for us, Kay has developed a three-part definition of joy,
1. Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life.
2. Joy is the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right.
3. It’s a determined choice to praise God in all things.
As Christians, we are all given the opportunity to experience joy on a daily basis; it’s up to us to make the choice.
“It’s a settled assurance about God, it’s a quiet confidence in God, and a determined choice to give my praise to God. It has to do with my thoughts, my emotions and my actions. All of those are things that I can control – therefore I can choose.”