It is. God gives us joy, but we have to choose to receive it.
You can choose to become consumed by your circumstances and wallow in them – looking primarily at the here and the now – or you can choose to look up to God, showing gratitude for all He’s done in your life and trusting that he is in control. That’s real joy.
Joy is so much deeper than happiness. It’s not circumstantial. Happiness will come in your life, certainly, but it’ll also fade. Notice how you can be on a cloud one day and down in a ditch the next?
Joy isn’t like that. It never fades. We can have it regardless of our circumstances. It comes from God and it lives deep within us. It’s an outcome of our relationship with the Lord, and it can give us strength to get through whatever we’re facing.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy,and with my song I praise him. -Psalm 28:7
One of my own tendencies is to allow others to control my joy. If they do something that makes me unhappy, frustrated or leaves me otherwise unsatisfied, I’m ready to throw the towel in. Ever been there?
But as Joyce Meyer says, “My joy is not someone else’s responsibility. It’s my responsibility!”
You have to consistently choose not to let others drag you down. Because believe me, if you let them, they will.
When you depend on God, though, and believe He’s going to provide for your needs, it’s a lot easier to live in joy.
You can choose to live joyfully, allowing God to direct your heart, or you can live in fear. It’s your own choice. But here’s the thing: You’re going to have to face your current situation regardless of what you decide.
For me, joy usually starts with being thankful for what God has already given me. He has provided so much, yet I find myself continually looking at what I don’t have and what I still need. But when I focus on everything He’s done in my life so far, I’m just overwhelmed with thankfulness, and that leads to joy.
Joy also begins with letting go of things I can’t control. This happened to me recently. I have been holding on to something so tightly – something that I want to be within my control, but it isn’t. I’ve been praying about it every day. And I don’t know how it happened, but one day I just woke up and wondered what would happen if I decided to give it to God, be happy and quit worrying about it.
Can I just say, wow. I changed my attitude and God did the rest. He has given me so much joy and peace about it ever since.
It’s not that the situation has gotten any easier. Nothing has changed around me. It’s just I have one less burden because I know my God can handle it much better than I ever could. The change happened in my heart, and it was all because I chose to let go and let God work. When we just trust him, he gives us unexplainable joy.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. -1 Peter 1:8
What is it you need to lay at the feet of Jesus? He can give you joy beyond your circumstances. And he will, if you just pray to Him and trust that He’s got you in the palm of His hand.