“What are you yammering about now?”
“Sit down; have some coffee. Joy. Nabbers. . .”
” ‘Preciate it.” He took a healthy swig. “Yeah! You know, them people who’re so miserable theirselves they can’t seem to let a fella enjoy a thing in his life ‘thout doin’ their level best ta RUIN it for ‘im. Them kind of people?”
“Well, don’t that chuck yer hat’n the crick a little? Get you fahred up?”
“To the extent that I allow it.” His Louisiana-native friend thought about that as he sipped some more coffee. Looking down at his cup, he said, “Iss Community?”
“It is. I believe you were the first to serve it to me, and I’ve appreciated it ever since. Of course, I still haven’t gotten brave enough to use a garden trowel like you do instead of a coffee measure.” They sat in companionable silence, true old friends who’d sung and laughed and prayed and cried and dug a grave together; each learning to love and respect the other’s world and ways.
“Yeah, well, seems like ya can’t scrub the Yankee off’n some folks.” They both grinned, bumping fists and enjoying a couple more mouthfuls of the potent Dark Roast.
We sat there together, quietly, as old friends do. The creaking and squeaking of the old cane-bottom wooden rockers played the same easy melody they’d been playing for long years. As I sat enjoying coffee once more with my friend and brother in faith, I considered this whole thing of joy . . .
Joy – the possibility of enjoying – exists all around. No one can take that away from you without you first surrendering it. Remember this.
People and circumstances can distract you long enough to rob you of your joy – but they have to sneak in when your attention’s elsewhere. You can have joy in your heart regardless of who’s trying to ruin it, or what’s going on around you.
no one can take your joy from you without you first surrendering it.
‘Joy’ and ‘happy’ don’t even ride in the same roller coaster car. In fact, ‘joy’ doesn’t hang with ‘happy’ because ‘happy’ is fickle.
‘Happy’ doesn’t understand ‘joy’ because it’s boring, always the same, no creative flow. ‘Happy’ says, “C’mon, let’s play” while ‘joy’ calmly responds, “Go ahead. Wear yourself out running every direction at the same time. I’ll be right here.”
After his Goliath days, David wrote, “Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say. “More, more.” I have God’s more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees. At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep, for you, God, have put my life back together” (Psalm 4:7-8).
“More what?” Whatever is never enough for this moment. Where ‘happy’ is concerned, that’ll change in about 7 minutes. Or sooner.
John heard Jesus say, “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature“ (15:11). For the 3 years of his active ministry, Jesus had plenty that could make anybody abandon his joy. Who likes having hostile, jealous, critical, sarcastic people gunning for you?
Jesus never put His joy on the auction block. No price tag. You know what that means, right?
Based on the statements of guys like John who’d been right there, watching, Paul picked up on the big diff between ‘joy’ and ‘happy’.
“Always be joyful” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). The Message says it like this: “Be cheerful no matter what.”
You’re getting this, right? ‘Happy’ is a reaction. ‘Joy’ is a choice.
Happy runs at the first sign of trouble, while Joy gives you more than enough calm assurance to be steady right in the middle of it.
Guard your joy today.
© D. Dean Boone, August 2015