I have forever struggled with feeling joy. I can name on one hand the places where I experience joy. Reading books to my god-daughters before bed is one, and in the arms of my husband is another. Other than that, I have a hard time allowing myself to feel pure, undistracted, feels so good it almost hurts, joy.
I am coming to believe that my expectations of what joy should feel like are incorrect. In my mind, joy equals energy, unending smiling, and twirling around with another human being. Everything around me is lost and I am overtaken on a tidal wave of joy.
Somewhere along my life, I have adopted the truth that joy is a feeling. Though I do think this is partially true, I am also coming to believe that it’s a chosen mindset.
According to the dictionary, joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. I don’t know about you, but when Scripture tells us to consider it great joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, this definition falls very short. In the midst of the major traumas of my life, I cannot point to one moment where I found great pleasure or happiness in the midst of them.
I don’t know if I’ve become too much of a realist, but I have come to expect pain in our lives. I have been through enough to know that the grass doesn’t always stay green. When pain does arise, I have learned to thank God for the struggle because I know the sweet fruit that suffering produces. This knowledge, this mindset is my version of joy.
Maybe there are many kinds of joy, or maybe I am still out in left field trying to name something that would rather remain nameless.
What is joy to you?