To Fight for Joy

Is that a thing? Feels like an oxymoron; those words should only co-exist as opposites, rather than in a single thought, one working for and with the other.

Disclaimer: I am far, far, from having any of this figured out. What follows are a just few of the thoughts I’ve been tossing around lately. Go ahead – shoot it full of holes and tell me where I’m missing it.

Perhaps the very reason I feel I need to fight for joy is why I chose it for Word of the Year in the first place. I’m not sure how well having “joy” as a word is working for me. It does work, partially. I’ve found myself contemplating the whole joy concept off and on during this first quarter of the year. Meditating on something is a great way to learn and grow. It doesn’t work, however, in the aspect of “if I focus on this word, I will automatically become more joyful and positive and smiling and…” If only it would work that way… well, just think of all the magic word-cures we could come up with on January 1.

I thought that focusing on little “joy moments” would be a great way to inspire joy. I even wrote you all a complete blog post on such. You haven’t read it, and I’m glad of that. It remains and will remain unpublished. I can’t cough up joy just by counting all the sweet things in life. None of those things – big or little, from “We got married!” to “Aw, look at that teeny wildflower that just bloomed!” – are the source of joy. None.

After wondering what the word said, Raelynn turned it around backwards. My joy is all turned around backwards too sometimes… and flipped upside as well.

Joy is listed as the fruit of the Spirit. The Source of Joy is God Himself. If I want joy, I need God. To “have” God, I need to surrender… everything. In Him, with Him, from Him is joy.

So then, is the fight not really for joy at all, but rather the fight to allow nothing between me and God?

Or maybe fight isn’t the word. Maybe the word is rest. Stop fighting so hard. Lay it down. Bring your burdens to God. Take up His yoke, and rest.

Do I need to fight to rest?

Does any of this even make sense?

Abandon that train of thought for a moment. It’s feeling a bit too complicated anyway. Back to focusing on the little joy moments…

Despite everything I’ve just written, I do believe that counting our blessings is a thing. Or joy moments. Or whatever you want to call it. That gratitude journal really is a beautiful idea. Am I right in thinking that this exercise is effective in maintaining joy… refocusing my attention from the negatives, looking for reasons to praise God, seeing Him in the beautiful gifts He’s given us, adjusting my attitude, living and breathing in awe of Him? Can I find joy in God’s good gifts without mistaking them as my source of joy?

Wow – what a jumble of thoughts and words. A brain dump, I think they call it.

So. I do want to focus on the little joy moments. And so. I will go back to that unpublished blog post and retrieve a now-outdated list things that blessed me that day.

  1. My baby’s delighted smile when I look at her
  2. Tulips breaking ground for the first time
  3. The two-year-old recounting to her dad that “when I was eating my apple in the bedroom and mommy said to keep my mouth shut-ly tight, and I kept it Wide Open!”
    • Good memory, child!
    • …but don’t rejoice in your lack of obedience,
    • …and can anyone tell me how to teach a toddler to chew with her mouth shut?
  4. A delicious week with my mom
  5. Green eggs in our incubator
    • Yes, we’re trying that again
    • …and no, please don’t ask what happened to the last batch of eggs
    • …but I’ll probably tell you one of these days.
    • (Current update: the green eggs were removed. But there are still a dozen brown eggs in there!)
  6. My first air plant and Zz plant that I got at…
    • …a delightful little plant shop in downtown Chambersburg. Mom and I shopped
    • …while the baby slept
Simple joys. “I drew a bear!”

And now, today, there’s so much more to be added to this list. I am abundantly blessed.

  1. Sunshine. Lots of it!
  2. A quiet morning for writing.
  3. A friend saying, “I’m still thinking of you… and praying.”
  4. Another friend, the same evening, “We miss you so much.”
  5. New baby socks that just arrived in the mail.
  6. My Ben coming home for lunch!…

…which is cue for, it’s time to wrap this up.

What should be added or deleted to my conclusions on joy? How do you find and maintain joy? And what are a few of God’s delightful gifts that you’re enjoying today?

5 Comments

  1. Letitia Wadel says:

    Joy moments from my day
    -my student loving his cake
    -a giggle from a student going through a tough life situation
    -my amaryllis blooming
    -warm weather
    -reading a lovely blog post 😉

    Like

    1. Laura says:

      I’d be happy too if I got a cake that cute 😉

      Like

  2. Benita says:

    I like it. Just a few thoughts that went running through my mind- Joy is a choice. And God is a choice. Not a warm fuzzy feeling. Although I do love when God and joy give me a deliciously warm feeling. But it’s not always there, yet still we have to choose it by -like you said, gratefully seeing the joy moments and God moments in our day! Now I need to go put it to practice.😊

    Like

    1. Laura says:

      And that’s the hard part… 🤔

      Like

  3. Rosey says:

    So fun to read this… and my status right now is..JOY is like the rain.. and it’s raining as l type!

    Like

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