Friday, March 26, 2010

Sun, not Rain; Joy, not Happiness

Well the weatherman was calling for rain today in our area, but instead we got sun. YAY, I'm so glad!! We may get a late afternoon shower...right now I hear the birds singing because our windows are open. :))

A friend of mine had a photo shoot, and needed the natural light. So I hope all went well for her today. :)

The effects of the sun and the rain have been tangible ways for me to learn to overcome the spiritual and emotional aspects of my heart. Mainly differentiating between happiness and joy.

For instance; When it is rainy and cold for too many days, I "feel" down right depressed..not too happy! You know it too! haha! When it is sunny, I feel happy inside. :))) You know that too! (for those who know me well)

Joy is an expression...sometimes one of happiness, but not always. When I am joyful, it many not always be expressed outwardly in the happy exuberant way. I can have joy in the midst of painful or uncertain times...even if I don't express "happiness" outwardly. Most of the time I do express it though! :-D

After talking with a new friend (who is also a Pastor's wife), she shared something that really gave me a new perspective of happiness and joy. She shared that happiness and joy are really not the same thing.

Happiness is often times our moods, and feelings based on our situations effecting us. Whereas true joy is something only the Lord give us. It is that assurance and inner peace deep down that you know God is truly caring for us; that everything is going to be alright.

Being happy...or the expression of happiness can be an outward expression of joy. However, the outward expression of joy is not ALWAYS "happy looking". If that makes sense. One person can show outward expressions of grief and sadness, yet still have that inner peace of joy within that only comes from the Lord. Another person can show they're joy by exuberant praise! Both persons have joy, only expressing themselves differently.

It really helped me to hear this.

I'm learning to let myself off the hook more, and let others off the hook too. Sometimes I may not like a situation, or situations that have brought me great pain, disappointment, or sadness, but I've never lost my joy; my hope in Christ. I've always held on to Jesus, even if it is only by a thread at times! ;)

In the past, when I've not been able to express "happy happy-dancing and singing" all the time, I've felt guilty about that. I think sometimes christians believe you are supposed to walk around with a fake smile plastered on the face. I don't think people should walk around glum all the time. However, there are just sad times in our lives, there are HARD is OK to feel it and express it. God gave us these emotions!

My new friend and I talked about how Jesus was very sorrowful and sad at times during his walk on the earth. I mean, he actually sweated drops of blood from his emotions!! Yet, he still had joy and peace in knowing that He was doing the will of the Father God. He got frustrated, and even angry...there was still joy in doing the will of the Father. He was God in flesh, and still experienced and expressed His emotions. What makes us any better than Jesus, that we put pressure on ourselves and others to walk around trying to act like we are happy all the time...when we are not.

The Bible speaks to us in many scriptures about how in our weakness, in our sorrow, this is when GOD is STRONGest in our lives!

If we read the Psalms, not ALL of the writings are happy happy joy joy, but there is inner joy and peace in the writer as the common remaining thread throughout the scriptures. There were times that joy was expressed in "happy" ways...and there were times when David was down right distraught and sorrowful. He showed it AND spoke it! This is true of many of God's chosen in the Bible. Even though the change of emotions were expressed, God was always the sustaining joy and strength. I love that!

Through the years I've learned there is a lot of guilt that is carried for things that I shouldn't even feel guilty about! (like for taking a stand when people misunderstand and mistreat me, yet I end up carrying the guilt for it!!! ) Even though deep in my heart and spirit...I've got joy in knowing the truth...that Jesus and serving Him is my life!! Sometimes I'm just not happy about a situation or the way a person is behaving....or most of all how I am behaving!! It is OKAY! We all screw up! We say things we shouldn't, etc. If any person denies they ever do, then they are basically saying God is a liar...because when it comes down to it...we are ALL guilty with sin! No one is exempt. :)

Proverbs 20:9
9 Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure;
I am clean and without sin"?

1 John 1:7-9
7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

It could be a season of sadness or difficult times that God will walk with us through. If so, he will teach us things if we allow Him to do so (as we study God's Holy Bible and pray for Him to reveal truth). God will lovingly and patiently deal with us. The main thing is to be patient in loving ourselves and others through situations and circumstances. Everyone's time table is different. Especially God's timetable!

Job 6:8-10

8 "Oh, that I might have my request,
that God would grant what I hope for,
9 that God would be willing to crush me,
to let loose his hand and cut me off!

10 Then I would still have this consolation—
my joy in unrelenting pain (Job still had is JOY in the unrelenting pain)—
that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.

Psalm 94:18-20

18 When I said, "My foot is slipping,"
your love, O LORD, supported me.

19 When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.

John 16:21-23
21A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

Don't get me wrong...99% of the time the Bible is describing JOY as exuberant, happy, feet dancing...however, joy is still in the midst of the sadness and grieving times. Joy remains, even in times of hurtful times. Should we expect christians to walk around dancing and smiling all the time?? If they are sad, be sad with them and pray with them. See what God does! :)

John 11:33
33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

Romans 12:14-16
14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

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