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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bent, but not broken…

Do you own joy?

What do you do to bring light and joy into your own life? Yes, that’s a loaded question, but here’s what I am after…

What things do you do with other people, or alone (especially alone) for yourself, that make your days and weeks worthwhile? Not just the things you do for other people. What do you do for yourself?

Happiness and Joy

I think, or perhaps I have been taught that there is a difference between joy and happiness. This is only my opinion, in my tiny little world, and yours may be completely different. If you think something else, or even agree, please leave a comment. Anyway…

I think happiness depends on “happening.” It depends on people, places or things to give us that uplifting feeling.

Joy is something that is a part of us. It is something we own, down deep on the inside. It is given to us by God/ Creator, and is sustained by our own perspective on life.

I am teaching a unit of the Book of James right now [link to notes], and he says that we should “count it all joy!”


This joy that he speaks of is not walking around in a perpetual state of giddiness with some type of vacuous expression on your face. Nor is it walking around in a drug-induced, Thorazine, hashish, weed, or otherwise, drug-induced cloud, not recognizing when good and bad things are happening to
you and around you.

The joy that James speaks of is an inward confidence and assurance that things will ultimately improve, and be okay.

An online friend of mine led a chat Sunday talking about resilience.

This is where I think we get to the heart of the difference between the two, joy and happiness, comes into play.

It is normal and perfectly ok to feel bad when things aren’t going your way all the time. It is alright to be down when relationships crash. Its fine to feel disappointed when our children, friends and loved one don’t do what we think will be best for them. This is happiness and un-happiness. And we cannot stay there.

It is in these times, in these moments of chaos and crisis- perceived or real- that we must dig deeper into our well of resilience, find that unshakable joy beneath it all, pull those big girl/ boy panties up, and take the next step forward.

Nothing can truly defeat us, unless we allow it to.

We are each stronger than we realize and then we give ourselves credit for.

Sad and horribly wrong things come into all our lives. Sometimes the blow is dealt by nature, like a hurricane or tornado. Sometimes it is at the hands of other people. These things can bend and twist our lives all out of proportion. It can be hard to get hold of the proper perspective to find a way out or through. Eric Clapton once said in a song, “pain will make you bend your knees.” He wrote this after something went horribly wrong in his life.

Many things can and will bend us, but it is up to us to decide if we will let them break us.

I think not!!!

So I will ask you again, do you own joy?

What do you think?

photo credit #1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mccready/3116610173/sizes/l/in/photostream/

photo credit #2: http://www.pixelperfectdigital.com/free_stock_photos/data/524/010708_joy_stone.jpg

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