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First world crisis number 8. Group notes that don’t auto-populate.

What brings you joy in life?

I recently had an opportunity to discuss this idea with some dear brothers At first glance, sounds like a theology conversation, and I don’t tend to enjoy straight theology conversations because they make me feel like I’m back in school. This conversation, however, was not that. I loved this conversation for the way that we were brothers sharing about life and how in our lives we have found God.

For this topic, first of all, joy needs a definition. It’s not happiness, it’s not a feeling. It’s more like an understanding and a perspective. It’s a capacity to enjoy life that is often only possible after non-enjoying life most severely and often chronically.

The scary truth is that we need suffering in order to have joy.

Joy is perspective. How we look at life. How we interpret what’s happening. Our minds and thinking patterns are not ultimate infinite sources of healing…but they are pretty damn powerful! One of the greatest gifts God has given us is the ability to think our way through a situation and learn to self-correct our way of seeing. “Taking every thought captive.” This is the mindset that will allow you to see a setback as a lesson and a crisis as an opportunity.

Joy is a discipline. Learning to re-shape perspectives takes lots of practice. Not cracking and crumbling under pressure takes lots of practice and lots of the practice of prayer. One must cultivate an attitude of being grateful and being optimistic and of trusting God to be present in all things. These ways of seeing take work and effort and persistence.

Joy is relationships. With God. With a life partner. With the lives we create with our partners. With brothers and sisters and fellow strugglers. Without relationships, there can be no fellowship and with no fellowship, there is no joy.

What good is all the wisdom and right perspective in the world if you have no one to share it with?

Joy is a spiritual pursuit. This is how joy is different than happiness. We are happy when circumstances line up just right and we get our way. We experience joy because we know God is present in suffering and hardship and are able to experience Him no matter what.

I would like to pursue a more joyful experience of life.

 

God is our strength and hope

Our very present help in time of trouble

He is able to hear our pleas and answer our cries for help

All our needs find their satiation in Him

He has filled us with His presence

And surrounded us with His people

 

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