Isn't that what everyone wants...to just be happy? I know at times in my life, happy was all I wanted to experience. As I have grown and experienced many different things in life I realize more and more "Happy" is just a feeling that can easily come and go depending on my specific circumstance in life, but JOY is what I truly want and need. It hasn't exactly been times of happiness in my life that has stretched me the most and matured me it has truly been the moments I have had to really seek God and wait patiently (or not so patiently) for his guidance.
Lets face it life isnt always happy and it definitely has a way of throwing curve balls; A loss of a job, a death in the family, work stress, kids driving you crazy ;0, a big unexpected expense, shoot even my overfilled sink of dishes can change my attitude for a moment. I personally feel most happy when im serving others especially others who are in need. I've found from experience that its not easy to wallow in my own pity party when im helping someone else in the midst of a difficult time or experience.
I remember many years ago being in Haiti on a mission trip and the smiles on the kids faces at the orphanage and the loving hugs they gave that warmed my heart. I also remember a sweet lady who invited me into her home and was so proud to show me around. She seemed happy although im sure her experiences in life could have made her bitter. Her home had dirt floors, it was very small, no air conditioning, had a mattress on the floor with thin sheets but the joy in her heart and openess to share what she had made the home feel so rich, warm, and inviting. It made me embarrassed to think of the times in the past when I didn't want to invite people over to my small apartment JUST because it wasn't decorated as nicely as I would have desired.
Im learning to have joy during the stuggle, to be more patient without being complacent, to be content without becoming stagnant, and to show more grace without becoming a doormat. Spending time with my family, creating new memories/traditions, reaching goals, and showing God's love and grace to others is what creates true Joy in my heart.
Being in the midst of the holidays and possibly being bombarded with all the good and maybe the stress that this time often brings try to keep in mind Jesus. When he was born, it was to bring Joy and redemption to a fallen world. He unfortunatly didn't come with the sole intent to make us Happy.
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones Proverbs 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:3
Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know the testing of your faith produces perserverence. James 1:2-3