“Joy is to fun what the deep sea is to a puddle. It’s a feeling inside that can hardly be contained.” Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
I had a seizure this morning so I didn’t get to do my normal Saturday morning quiet time and dig into this one yet, but I thought I’d do a quick post to frame things up for us (or at least for myself) and then we’ll get into things more as the week goes on. Unlike the topic of love, I’m overflowing with ideas about joy and theories that I want to explore this week. Which might make for more (and shorter) posts than last week. One can hope, at least.
Before I dive in, I’ll tell you my current hypothesis regarding joy. We’ll see if I feel the same at the end of the week.
Joy hypothesis: Feeling joy is a matter of gratitude. It’s a process of noticing the blessings we’ve been given already, rather than seeking new ones. This is not to be confused with happiness. Happiness is a momentary reaction to a specific combination of internal and external factors–mood, relationships, work, weather, etc.. Happiness is both more illusive and less valuable than joy, which–much like hope–rests inside of us regardless of circumstance. It is only our own outward focus that prevents us from actively experiencing this joy. We busily seek happiness from external things, craving that momentary flash of joy-like emotion, and miss the reservoir of joy that is already inside of us, refilled daily by gratitude and Christ.
My goal this week is to (1) shift my focus to explore the joy that the Lord has put inside of me, (2) figure out what strategies work for me when trying to stay centered in the joy of my faith (rather than chasing fleeting moments of happiness), and (3) learn some new things!
Two of the ways that I plan to accomplish this (other than spending good quiet times with the Lord) are:
- Taking the time to notice the things I’m grateful for and (when appropriate) express my gratitude to those responsible for putting those things in my life. Starting with my Father’s Day Post tomorrow.
- Listening to messages on joy. I commute to work by bike, which gives me 30 minutes of uninterrupted listening time twice a day. I usually blast country on my iPhone. But I’ve found some messages on joy and am planning to work them in throughout the week as well. I’ve posted links to the messages below in case you’re interested.
- Secrets to Joy (Spencer Bernard)
- A Reason for Joy (Mark Darling)
- We Exult in Our Tribulations (John Piper)
- Psalm 33: Being Joyful (Mark Darling)
- I Will Go to God, My Exceeding Joy (John Piper)
- The Rebels Guide to Joy (Mark Driscoll)
Note: If you want to download one of these, you should be able to do so by right-clicking and selecting “Save Link As…” (or whatever the Windows equivalent of that is… I’m on a Mac).
Caveat: I haven’t listened to these yet so there may be something completely wrong or controversial in them. No promises. These are just the ones that looked interesting to me. If you’ve got other ones that you think would be good, shoot me the link!
That’s it. Tune in tomorrow for more about joy despite (because of?) trials. And to hear about how awesome my dad is.
Random Side Note:Terry Pratchett (the author I quoted at the beginning of this post) is a UK writer who is so well loved that he was knighted for his Service to Literature. How cool is that?