What does it mean to discover joy?
So often we fall into the trap of thinking that in order to have joy we have to be happy all the time! But that is the antithesis of the spiritual meaning of joy.
Archbishop Tutu remarks, “Discovering more joy does not save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily, too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that enables rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken.”
That is one of the most poignant and powerful lessons we can learn from the crucifixion of Christ.
As he hung there and uttered his final words, never is there a glimpse of bitterness, anger, hatred, or disgust.
All of the words he shared with those who were both dying with him and also observing the death were words that could only come from a place of deep joy.
You can’t fake joy and then be struggling for your last breaths and offer forgiveness for the very people who were killing you. “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they do.”
You can’t fake joy and be more concerned for others than you are for your own well-being as you are dying. “Mother, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.”
You can’t fake joy and peacefully move from this world to the eternal one.
“Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
Far too often in life our feelings of happiness are fleeting, not to mention hard to find.
There is something within each of us that will allow us to face hardship and suffering in the same manner Christ did. That is not some idealistic falsehood.
Archbishop Tutu said, “We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it, that we discover the possibility of true joy. Life is filled with challenges and adversity. Fear is inevitable, as is pain and eventually death. Take the return of prostate cancer – well, it does focus the mind.”
THERE – that is the phrase we must cling to if we want to experience joy.
“Focus the mind.”
Years ago a group named Envogue had a song, “Free the Mind” and the lyrics went, “free the mind, the rest will follow.”
There is truth in that.
If we will free the mind and focus on the presence of God deep within our souls – the rest will follow. (God is Love – so focus on all things associated with Love).
The rest being contentment, peace, and joy – despite the circumstances.
Today – focus and free the mind.
As anxieties creep in, mediate on all thoughts, feelings, and instances that shower you with Love. Allow the Spirit to work in those moments to help you connect to Joy.
1 John 4:
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us.