Is lasting joy really possible in this crazy world?

When I start writing a new blog post, if it’s something I think I might have touched on in a previous blog, I will search my other blogs to see if I’ve used the title before, or how many times what I want to write about has been used in other blogs. Today I searched joy. I am still going to talk about it, but wow, I have a lot of blog posts that mention joy. I wonder if it’s something I need to work on, or something I have a lot of. It’s probably a combination of both, because I do feel a lot of joy regularly.

Today in Church we talked about joy, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts about joy, and some of what I learned about it. So, if you look up the word joy on the internet, the definitions you might find would be things like great pleasure, happiness, well-being, success, good fortune, delight. I think those things all describe something similar to a feeling of joy, but I don’t think it’s quite the definition.

I think the definition of joy, the root of joy, is much deeper than simply an emotion that we can or cannot feel depending on what we are experiencing at that current moment. So I turned to my Church’s doctrine, I turned to what we call the Guide to the Scriptures. Here it defines Joy as, “a condition of great happiness coming from righteous living. The purpose of mortal life is for all people to have joy. A full joy will come only through Jesus Christ.”

Joy, to me, is something much deeper than a single experience. When I do something fun, or I get to watch my kids do fun things, it makes me happy. I enjoy many things in life, my family, hiking, good music and books, beautiful sunshine, warm weather (especially this time of year in Alaska!), pets, all sorts of things. But the happiness I feel with a lot of them comes only when I am experiencing that particular thing, or as I look back on memories. Hiking makes me happy, and while I am doing it, I feel happy, exhilarated, and grateful to be out in nature. But when I am done, I go back to my regular mundane life, and the happiness fades. The memories still bring happiness, but it’s not a constant. But joy can be constant.

Joy is a much deeper emotion. Joy comes from living a life as close to Jesus Christ as we possibly can. We all make mistakes, but fortunately, Jesus Christ is the master healer, and can help us correct any mistake we make. Joy often comes along with peace. Peace comes through Jesus Christ, not just when we believe in Him, but trust Him when He says He will help us, when He says He will heal us, when He says come, even with your burdens and baggage, because He will help us carry that load.

Joy is something that can be felt in the most difficult situations we might find ourselves in as well. That might sound weird, who wants to experience joy during hard times? Well, I know I do. But we have to remember that joy isn’t just about what’s happening to us right now. It’s deep in long lasting. Joy can sustain us through hard times. Trusting in the Lord when difficulties arise, and turning things over to God, knowing and trusting in His ability to help us, relieves us many of the burdens that come with trials and challenges so that we can better see the Lord’s hand in our lives, and when we can see His hand in our lives, we can see that He is helping, that He really is there, that He really does care, and our burdens become lighter, and we can have joy knowing He is there, even when it’s hard.

Lastly, joy comes from maintaining an eternal perspective. We are eternal beings, which means we existed before we came here and we will continue to exist when we leave this life. We have a Heavenly Father who loves us dearly, and we have the potential to become like Him. But we have to make the choices consistent with that opportunity. Making those choices, and working on becoming a better person, even if it’s in baby steps, brings joy. Joy ultimately comes from God and knowledge of His love for each one of us, and His joy in our baby steps all along the way. This is what brings a long lasting, deep inside of us kind of joy. The kind that can’t be diminished by temporary circumstances or experiences. This is the kind of joy we should each be reaching for, because it is possible in all of our lives, on a daily basis.

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