May 13, 2013

The Assumed Dichotomy Between Joy and Realness

Our pastor talked yesterday about joy. A specific point that stood out to me is that joy is attractive.

It made me automatically check myself. Am I joyful? Are people drawn to me because of my joy? If not, why? I have so much to be thankful for--so much to be joyful about!

Okay...but what about in times of trial?

That throws a wrench in my thinking. Because what if we DON'T have a lot to be joyful about? What if your husband has lost his job, or you've miscarried, or you've lost your mom to cancer, or your life is just not what you always had hoped it would be?

What then?

Because another thing that is attractive--to me at least--is realness. When people are REAL, I want to be around them.

But if someone is going through a major trial, she probably won't be shouting praises from the rooftop or spinning like Maria in Sound of Music, right? I mean, it's pretty hard to be joyful when your world is crashing down around you.

So either you pretend to be joyful or you mope around in a negative manner--and either way, people don't want to be around you. Because people can sense fake joy. And they don't want to be around someone who is negative all the time.

So what choice does someone who is going through something tragic really have?

The world tells us that you either have to choose joy or realness.

But God says differently: "Count it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2).

And the reason is rooted in the definition of joy.

Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy is deep, abiding, hope-filled. Joy reminds us that God will bring all things together for good in the end--even if we can't see that now. Joy thinks about heaven and all the glories that wait for us there. Joy embraces the freedom that is given in Christ, a freedom that knows no bounds. Joy is unstoppable.

And joy does not preclude realness.

Because you see, when a person is facing a trial, and she's very real about her struggles--even to the point of showing the scars and letting others know "I'm doubting" or "really struggling with faith"--and yet she radiates joy...well, to me, that's the most attractive thing of all.

Your Turn: What does joy mean to you? What draws you the most to someone else? You do think joy and realness can coexist?

14 comments:

  1. Good morning, Lindsay! Guess what? I'm talking about joy over at my blog today too! How fun is that? Love your insights.

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    1. That's so awesome that we were on the same page today, Beth. I loved your insights as well.

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  2. Loved your post this morning. Joy is my one word so naturally I was all about your blog this morning. And I'll hop over to Beth's too!

    I can be unhappy and not lose my joy. The difference between the two is one comes from emotions at the time and joy stems from hope in Jesus and your faith in Him. Can we lose our joy? Yes. How do we keep it? You answered that: Abiding in Christ. ;)

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    1. Love how you stated it so simple: "Can we lose our joy? Yes. How do we keep it? ... Abiding in Christ."

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  3. Such beautiful thoughts, Lindsay. Joy is that intrinsic quality, a peace or rest that comes from a relationship with God. He gives us the ability to walk in joy through the darkest struggle, and to be real in the midst of that struggle. He is faithful to help us walk in His joy, isn't he? I loved your post today!

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    1. Yes, we definitely couldn't have joy without a relationship with Him. Otherwise, where does true hope come from?

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  4. Yours is the second blog about joy that I've read today. We can never have too many reminders! You exude joy, Lindsay. Your upbeat attitude, your grace-filled words, and your heart for the Lord is such a reflection of Jesus. And I'm right there with you - realness draws me to people. An honest, non-photoshopped life fosters a trusting friendship.

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    1. Oh, thank you, Donna. To hear I exude joy is such a compliment.

      Love what you said: "An honest, non-photoshopped life fosters a trusting friendship." Yes, yes, yes. If only we weren't so afraid that others would be judging us for our "weaknesses."

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  5. Yes, joy and realness can coexist, and you've hit the nail on the head. Joy is the unshakable place of KNOWING we belong to God, and no matter what the Earthly circumstances look like, He's in control and He has a plan. I love real, joy-filled people. They are seriously the best kind to be friends with. That's why I love you so much!! :)

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    1. Aw! That's why I love YOU so much!! And yes, it's so comforting to know He's got a plan. Because I try to plan, but so often those plans come crashing down around me. Thank goodness He's still there in the midst of all that.

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  6. Oooooh, what an awesome post today, Lindsay!!!

    One of the highest compliments I've ever had was when a un-saved friend said "you are one of the few who walk the talk".
    She has known me through mountaintops and ravines, but it was in the ravines that she saw through the fancy words and saw God working...and that I still had joy.
    Great reminder for us all to have joy IN the journey.

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    1. You are very real, Jennifer. I love that about you. You're not afraid to tell it like it is. :)

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