I believe that to Jesus, joy is the simplest form of gratitude.
I don't usually set my New Year theme until, well, the New Year, but this year it is so blatantly evident what God is speaking to my heart.
As I end this EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE year (and boy was it ever more than I could have hoped or dreamed for!) and I look forward to what's to come in 2019 - I am overwhelmed, chased down by and overflowing with joy. It isn't because everything around me is perfect. It isn't because I haven't suffered loss and disappointment. It isn't because I have it all together. It's because no matter which perspective I take of the imperfect, disappointing, chaotic stuff - I can't help but feel God's got this.
Joy is not happiness. You can be unhappy and joyful at the same time. Happiness is based on events or happenings. Happiness is based on things that are going on in your life. Joy is deeper than that. Joy is more established than events. Happiness comes and goes. The thing that made you happy one day, makes you unhappy the next. But joy is not based on events, joy is the emotion of hope. The hopeless are joyless.
Joy is a perspective to hold and a lens through which you choose to see all of life. It's a lens you look through even in the dark and difficult moments of your life. I went through yet, another disappointing breakup this year. I am sad at the loss but yet I am filled with incredible joy at what God is going to do next in my love life. I am overjoyed that I was able to love so deeply and incredibly well which is what my heavenly Father would want me to do. And while I'm not happy about the breakup, this sense of joy is an under current that carries me through each day. I just can't seem to see life as anything but beautiful and full of hope. I am so excited for what's ahead.
2019 is lining up to be a year of very happy events. I received news of a promotion at work, my oldest daughter is getting married, my middle and youngest daughters will start their senior years in college and high school and I am sure, the months to come will be brimming with other happy inducing moments. And yet as I am filled anticipation of those events, I know there will be unhappy moments sprinkled in. But those unhappy times won't steal my joy, because where there is hope...joy abounds and with that, God will work miracles.
I wish for you a Joy Unspeakable year.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace