I choose joy.
Joy comes in the morning.
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
and of course, joy to the world!
When my daughter hears any of these sayings, she usually reacts by rolling her eyes and saying, “like I haven’t heard that a million times.” (Unless it’s an adult -- then she smiles politely and sighs.)
I did choose Joy -- to be her name, that is. My husband offered some counsel: “She may not be a joyful person. Then her name would be an unfortunate irony.”
But, Joy she was named, and he was right. It seemed she emerged into the world with a furrowed brow, a line so deeply edged into her forehead that I believe a cartographer could create a relief map from it.
She was nicknamed Forest Creature for her growly visage and ways, and Bear because she was so reluctant in the mornings to socialize with the rest of us. Grumpy Face, RBF, but mostly just Joy Bear.
Now in her last year as a teenager, she has learned that her countenance can give people the wrong impression about her, and she tries to remember to smile pleasantly so as not to scare them off. Today she focuses on this truth:
"Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV)
And, as for me, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4 ESV)
C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” I have learned a lot from Joy, my child, even if she is not the bubbly, optimistic character of her namesake from the movie Inside Out. What I have learned is from her generosity.
You see, Joy gives.
As a child, she would give away her food, her candy, her toys, her shoes, her trinkets. She gives her loyalty to friends who have not appreciated her, and she gives her protection to those being treated unjustly. She gives her prayers over to God on behalf of her loved ones and strangers from afar; she gives her help to classmates who struggle through calculus dilemmas; she gives her time to fellow thespians who need someone to run lines with them; she gives her artwork away; she gives her devotion to her sisters; she gives her bike to her brother; she gives her hands to helping out when home on break.
Joyfulness gives. Joyfulness lives in contentment because all that the Father gives is good for His children. Joyfulness thrives where fear is erased by confidence in God’s trustworthiness to provide. Joyfulness fills the heart and guards it against the clutches of jealousy and envy because His blessings are perfectly and uniquely crafted to satisfy each soul.
And Joyfulness filters through the actions and words of our Forest Creature, Joy, generously spreading His joy everywhere she goes.
** Five Minute Friday (FMF) is a weekly event hosted at the website of Kate Motaung wherein participants are given a single word prompt every Thursday evening, which remains active for one week. How to play: write for 5 minutes on the thoughts, memories, impressions, reflections, aspirations, hopes, beliefs, convictions, or whatever, that that prompt word brings to mind. Set a timer, write without worry about spelling or grammar or typos, and stop when the timer goes off (no cheating). The rules are here. It's free, it's non-committal, and it's easy to participate, so come to the #FMFparty with me! This week, the word was JOY.
Laura England Miller