#atozchallenge: J is for Joy

ShootsThe good times, and the bad times …

A couple of years ago, Matt and I gave a series of talks at our church about the ‘fruit of the Spirit’. For those who don’t know, Paul, a follower of Jesus, wrote a letter (which can be found in the Bible as The Book of Galatians) to the church at Galatia in which he said the following:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patient, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Basically, the idea is that those who let God’s Spirit live within them will grow this fruit in their lives; they will become more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient etc …

Anyway, we’d given a couple of these talks, and they’d gone well – in preparation, delivery and reception – but then we’d come to prepare the talk on joy. Joy? Joy? That happy, happy, smiley, wonderful feeling, joy? How could I talk to people about joy when I was still wrestling with an illness that had, at times, made me contemplate suicide?

BAM!

I hit a roadblock.

I almost gave up.

I said to Matt, ‘I can’t do it. It’s too hard. You’ll have to do it without me.’

Fortunately, what he heard was, ‘Help!’ and thankfully, he knew what to do. He said, ‘Why don’t you just tell your story?’

So, after much soul-searching, that’s what I did. I stood up in church and told everyone about my battle with depression and my struggle for joy. My talk is too long to recount in an atozchallenge post, but you can read it here if you like.

BlessingSo, what’s the upshot of all this? Well, through telling my story at church I learned that a lot of other people there had also suffered at the hands of depression. I learned that God doesn’t expect his children to be happy all the time and walk around with smiles on their faces. I learned that being joyful isn’t about feeling happy; it’s more about having an attitude of gratitude, about looking for the positives, about letting go of the past and letting myself lean on the strong.

Linkidinks:

An explanation of my AtoZChallenge theme can be found at Me and My Mental Health – It’s Time to Talk.

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10 thoughts on “#atozchallenge: J is for Joy

  1. I think many of us feel guilt or pressure because we don’t experience joy. I agree that it is about gratitude, but also acceptance – being able to just be, and recognizing that joy is different for everyone.

  2. I agree, an attitude of gratitude is a very good definition. joy is so much more than happiness. I also read your story. I’m so glad that you got through it. It was very brave of you to get up and talk about this in front of your church, people you know. I’m impressed!

  3. “Being joyful isn’t about feeling happy; it’s more about having an attitude of gratitude” — those are some words to live by.

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