When you think the word “joy” what pops into your head? Or possibly WHO pops into your head? When I think of joy, automatically my mind goes straight to my friend Jessica. I met Jess my freshman year of college. This girl is the most thoughtful person I have ever met. She used to bring me sweet little “happys” (gifts to make me smile…just because) whenever she felt like it. She even gifted me a couple of times before Liam was born with books from Amazon and a sweet little baby outfit that he wore quite often! She even drove a couple of hours to make it to one of Liam’s baby showers…amazing!
She never wants praise…she just loves people. She makes you feel like a million bucks. Jess has been through some extremely tough circumstances. No matter what she’s walked through though, she always gives the Lord praise. Through each season she reminds whomever she’s talking to that God is great. He is faithful. Of course, she feels sadness, but you can still see the beautiful, contagious joy of Jesus shining through the sadness. There’s just something so sweet about true joy…joy that makes you feel like you stepped out of an ice-cold igloo into the warm rays of bright sunshine. The kind you feel in the depths of your being. Jess has this joy.
I look at myself…my natural pessimism, and ask if people ever feel like I do around Jess when they’re around me. It’s humbling because I most often answer, “not a chance.” I sometimes lose the true meaning of having the joy of Christ in my life as I feed into the lie that joy comes from earthly things…from having a vacation on the calendar to having a spectacular bite to eat. Or even a new cute outfit or pair of sparkly earrings. These earthly pleasures can’t ever bring me that true joy. They’re only like feeding a parking meter…you can fill yourself up with them over and over but you’re never full. The meter always expires and you have to keep filling it. With Jesus…He gives you that everlasting joy. The kind you feel deep in your bones.
I love how Kelly Minter puts it in her Nehemiah study.
“Unencumbered, uncomplicated joy needs nothing but the presence of Christ to light its wick in our hearts. Joy frees us from having to constantly feed the meter with our next big plan, pleasure, or purchase.”
The meter will always run out when we fill ourselves with earthly things. Those pleasures are fading. However, we will always remain full when we fill ourselves with Christ. He is exactly where Jess’s joy comes from, and oh, how it blesses others! I long for this peaceful, lasting JOY! Unencumbered, uncomplicated, and completely satisfying.
“His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him. For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.” Psalm 21:5-7