“Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” - C. S. Lewis
True joy is dependent on our attitude and how we are affected by the situations that surround us, those within our control but especially those beyond our control.
Are you reactive or proactive?
Are you pessimistic or optimistic?
Do you believe in karma or grace?
Do you enjoy seeing people get their "just deserve" or believe in redemption and rehabilitation?
Do you feel self-righteous and entitled or feel you should serve others and their needs first?
Do you complain about politics constantly or do you volunteer in your community to help make things a little better right at home where you live?
Would you rather hold onto a grudge or try to love a difficult person, hoping some kindness will break open their heart?
Do you wallow in past pains, or do you forgive and use your experience to lead you to help others who have suffered in a similar way?
Do you see people as nameless labels... "those people"... Or do you see EVERY living person on this earth as a loved, valued, and cherished creation of God?
Of course, changing one's attitude is easier said than done. But I know one thing, I want joy in my life. I don't want negativity weighing me down. And when I feel like I'm connected, loving and serving others (even despite differences and having been hurt by them in the past) I find a joy that I cannot find anywhere else. And I know I don't find it when I'm constantly letting people's negative attitudes or bad decisions affect my every day life to the point where I'm continually criticizing them.
On a more spiritual level, joy is the "fruit of the spirit" I have been longing for lately. I'm ready to make it a priority: to live joyfully the way Jesus intended, to open my heart to others despite all the other crap going on, to trash all the negativity and just love - love - love! So for me personally, finding joy is directly related to where I am on my walk with God. Am I seeking to follow Jesus in all I do and love others with everything I have, or am I left to my own devices and reacting negatively to everything uncontrollable thing that happens along my path in life?
Matthew 5:8 reminds me of how I can stay connected to God and in turn find that joy God promises:
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
My prayer for myself and anyone who is reading this is that we will learn how to be pure in heart, to love people the way Jesus does, and to live with a spirit of joy in all we do.
Question: Where does your joy come from? What has helped change your attitude towards people who have hurt you or you disagree with?