[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jill Slywka is a born and raised prairie girl, who these days finds herself surrounded by the mountains of BC. Even so, she still considers Regina and Glen Elm to be one of her ‘homes’. She spends her days working as an optometrist in the town of Merritt, and uses any opportunity she can to get out to travel and explore.]
JOY: “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”
Sounds simple enough, right?
Maybe so. But some days I really struggle with joy. I know in my heart that joy is fully accessible to me, and to everyone. And some days, I can feel it. Deep within me, I can feel joy, regardless of what might be going on around me. Yet other days, it seems to stay ever so slightly out of my grasp, and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to grab a hold of it. And I have a sneaking suspicion that most people may feel the same way as me.
In 1 Peter 1:8, we’re told that when we put our love and trust in Christ, we can rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. Because of His presence in our lives, even though we do not actually see him, we can know and experience joy.
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
I don’t know about you, but inexpressible joy sounds pretty amazing! I want that! Joy that I can’t even begin to put into words. I wait with anticipation for the day when I will experience love and peace and joy in all their fullness. But we don’t have to wait for someday – we can experience it now! As followers of Christ, we’ve all been given the Holy Spirit, and one of the fruits of the Spirit working in our lives is JOY.
But how do we find and experience this joy? How does this play out in the daily grind of life, when the world all around us is trying to tell us that we can’t really experience joy? I don’t claim to know all the answers – but one of the ways that I try to find joy is to simply embrace my today, to love all the little things that God has chosen to put into my life. One of my favourite books that I’ve read this past year is “Cold Tangerines”, written by Shauna Niequist. She writes about celebrating and loving life, even in the seemingly ordinary moments. The excerpt below sums up how I feel about finding joy in the everyday:
It’s rebellious, in a way, to choose joy, to choose to dance, to choose to love your life. It’s much easier and much more common to be miserable. But I choose to do what I can do to create hope, to celebrate life, and the act of celebrating connects me back to that life I love. We could just live our normal, day-to-day lives, saving all the good living up for someday, but I think today, just plain today, is worth it. I think it’s our job, each of us, to live each day like it’s a special occasion, because we’ve been given a gift. We get to live in this beautiful world.
So today, I choose to be a little rebellious. Today, I choose joy.