So because of the (unintended) direction that my last blog post took, I chose to wait on announcing the subtitle of this blog. The title ended up as 'Strands of Silver' (you can read it
When I sat down to write that post, I had planned to talk about the subtitle, not the title itself. See, the subtitle is supposed to describe the title. But apparently God had a different meaning in mind for the title name than I did. He's the expert, and saw a deeper layer than I did in 'Strands of Silver.' Which is fine. It just means you guys get two posts on the title. :)
No drama this time. Here's the subtitle:
Joy is something I'm pretty excited about. It changes your perspective to one of praise and thanksgiving, gives everything you look at a sparkle and makes hard tasks enjoyable. In the good times.
In the bad times, it is more than just the 'fuzzy feeling' that people often associate with the word. There is a difference between 'happiness' and 'joy.' A very important difference. Happiness is a feeling, an emotion that can be triggered by a thought, an experience, or a spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough.
Joy is a state of being. Something deeper than emotion and stronger than feelings. You could be going through the most painful time in your life, and be joyful. See, joy is something that goes farther than the human body, emotions and mind. It is deeper than all that, because true joy is rooted in the spirit. True joy comes from knowing, believing, trusting and obeying God's Word and will.
Being joyful with the real kind of joy does not mean you have to feel happy, content or at peace with your surroundings. The real kind of joyfulness means you are at peace in your spirit, secure in the knowledge of the promises of God and content with His love toward you. It's like a secret power that can hold you up no matter what happens to you, and no matter what happens with the world. This joy is a result of knowing (not feeling) that nothing can touch what God has promised to you, nothing can change His love and no matter what, those things will forever be the same.
Which I guess is also faith. Character qualities seem to be so often tied up with each other. Having faith in Who God is makes your outlook one of joy, as you hopefully wait for the promises to come.
And yes of course, joy is also a feeling, a wonderful outlook on life gained from the knowledge that we hold within. It is this joy that gives you the ability to see everything - from frustrating challenges to everyday chores - as causes to smile, reasons to be thankful, opportunities to find fun and chances to laugh.
This outlook from your inlook gives you this second 'secret power,' the gift to see strands of silver in dull-gray rock. When you know how to look, you will find that all around us, God has placed extraordinary joy in ordinary places. In the beauty of the rays of sunlight streaming through the window and loudly announcing that you have not washed that window in three weeks. In the extra time you get while sitting in a traffic jam on the freeway to observe and pray for your fellow 'jammies' around you. In the few minutes that allow you to look away from the screen and up into the night sky while the (exasperating!) computer reloads and rethinks your page over and over and over and ov- (don't you love it when you preach to yourself?).
In every situation, God has hidden some strand of joy for us to find. In all the ordinary, everyday rock God has run a vein of silver. (Which was considered as a blog name but conjured up too many weird images...) But the problem is - most of the time we aren't looking for it. Myself included. We're too distracted by the circumstance itself that we aren't aware that God has His fingers in it, showing us His love by offering us His joy.
Finding joy is a pastime I have grown to love. And that is what this blog is going to be about: discovering joy in everyday life and sharing it with you. And sharing things that bring me joy (believe, me, a LOT of things!) in hopes that it will provide you with some.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,"
-1 Peter 1:8
"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."
“For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy."
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;"
P.S. At this present time, I would highly appreciate prayer as I walk through and figure out another aspect of the joy stage that I've personally never experienced before: finding extraordinary joy in extraordinarily hard circumstances.