I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy!

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart!
Where?
Down in my hear,
Down in my heart!”

Singing this song at the top of my lungs was the high point of every summer. Summer meant vacation Bible school. Vacation Bible School meant friends and games and cookies and Bible stories and lots of singing. I loved the singing.

Throughout my childhood, into my teens, twenties, thirties, and forties, through school, moving, dating, studying, marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, sleepless nights, toddlers, potty training, “I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, down in my heart!”

joy, joy

Only sometimes I haven’t felt it.

For the purpose of this discussion, I’m defining joy as a peaceful, calm, deep, profound, settled contentment in God’s glory and goodness. It is the confident knowledge that God’s got it. Whatever ‘it’ is. Joy doesn’t allow the circumstance to define the attitude. It doesn’t allow the loss or the frustration or the misunderstanding to cloud our focus or understanding of Him.

Deeper

Joy doesn’t mean we’re always happy, smiling or laughing. It’s deeper than that, It’s a peacefulness, an inner centeredness that stabilizes us. It’s founded on a high view of God, an acknowledgement of man’s depravity. We acknowledge who God is and who we’re not. We stop trying to dictate to Him, manipulate Him or bargain with Him. Instead we recognize Him as the King of kings, the Lord of lords as Master, Creator, Sovereign of the universe. And as such we yield to His perfect plan, His will and way.

This recognition, this acknowledgement, allows us trust Him. Joy doesn’t demand complete understanding or special insight into what God is doing. It doesn’t mean that we don’t wrestle or question. Both of those are legitimate aspects of our relationship with God. It means that we wrestle it through and don’t give up. We begin and end the wrestle with God seated on the throne. That isn’t the issue. That is established.

We grapple with life as it gets crazy and complicated, full of conflict and completion. In Psalm 46.10 we are encouraged to ‘cease striving and know He is God’. We don’t have to contend with His position, though we battle our enemy and the realities of living in the world. Through it all He offers us opportunity after opportunity to choose joy. He offers us shelter from the storms of life as our Tower and our Refuge.

Joy is found when we rest in Him and stop struggling, stop worrying, stop stressing about our life circumstances. It means that we stop focusing on how something will work out and trusting that He works all things for His glory and our good. It means we sing His praises when we don’t understand, when we are tired, lonely and overwhelmed.

In Jeremiah 8.10 the prophet declared to the people, “The joy of the Lord is your strength”. This is the key: We find the strength we need to live each day based on the joy of the Lord. We often think that we could obtain joy if we understood how things would work out or if we could have some assurance that everything would be okay. We think that knowledge would give us strength. Instead, God asks us to find our joy and subsequent strength in Him.

Remember the definition? Joy is a peaceful, calm, deep, profound, settled contentment in God’s glory and goodness. Joy is in fact, ‘down in my heart’ and yours. Joy isn’t shallow; it’s deep. Circumstances are often surface, the little things that frustrate and throw us off. And when life’s issues cut deeper, they intersect with the deep joy

joy, joy

Choosing Joy

And then we get broadsided with life. It’s at those moments I don’t want to sing. I don’t want what that down deep joy offers. I don’t want to sing about it much less allow it to affect me. No, want to cross my arms and pout. I want to throw a pity party for myself. I don’t want to think about God. I want to think about me and my rights and how hurt and offended I am. It’s a pretty ugly picture.

That brings me to another aspect of joy. It’s chosen. There are joyous occasions in life that overwhelm our senses, moments when our ability to revel in God’s goodness and grace are easy. Those are the times we rejoice without even really thinking about it. We laugh and smile and sigh.

Joy.

Most of the time joy doesn’t just happen but the good news is that it is always available. We must choose it. We must choose to rest in Him, to sing through the storms, to dance in the rain, to trust Him through it all.

Joy remembers the assurance we have of eternal life with Him. As believers in Christ Jesus, as we put our faith in His death on the cross, we have the hope of heaven. This is the “joy of my salvation” that the psalmist writes about. This is the joy that focuses not on the here and now, but the eternal. This is not all there is. Joy, a peaceful, calm, deep, profound, settled contentment in God’s glory and goodness grants us strength for the day, the ability to smile, to rejoice in Him.

Join me:

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart!
Where?
Down in my hear,
Down in my heart!”

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Rachael Carman
I had it going on—or so I thought. After surviving sixty-three months of pregnancy, countless sleepless nights, and 35,000+ diapers, this one-time control freak encountered God’s grace. And I’m here to encourage you to do the same! I love encouraging and inspiring moms to grow deeper in their walk and relationship with our Heavenly Father.

I’ve been married to my beloved, Davis, since 1986; our life has been a roller-coaster ride, with God at the controls. We have seven kids and let me tell you our family loves to laugh! I enjoy playing in the dirt, eating dark chocolate, and walking on the beach. I’m an author and speaker and I am passionate about helping moms not only survive motherhood, but draw near to the Father and thrive in motherhood.

I’m so glad you’re here.
Posted on: March 15, 2017

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