the words joy is...

Defining Joy

Happy July!

We are without a doubt in summer mode now. And because of that we have chosen the theme of ‘joy’ to be our focal point for the month.

Sunshine, warmth, blue skies, green grass, a gentle breeze, blooming trees and flowers, swimming, summer parties, barbecues, bike rides, camping, and the sound of laughter – all bring a sense of joy to us.

But what exactly is joy?

“Joy is this settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”  – Kay Warren

I know I used this definition last year for what joy is, but I honestly can’t get away from it.

It just makes so much sense to me.

It takes the word joy away from the word happiness in a big way. In fact, there is nothing in this definition of joy about being happy. Not that there’s anything wrong with being happy, but It’s pretty obvious that happiness is temporary at best.

This definition helps people like me, who often view the world through a jaded lens, feel okay about myself when I don’t feel happy (or even joyful for that matter) all the time.

It’s actually quite liberating to think of joy this way. 

One of the things I love about this way of defining joy is that it doesn’t take away the fact that the world also has a lot of sadness.

Sometimes it is obvious that we experience joy and pain at pretty much the same time. Yet, even in the midst of the many sad stories that we may hear every day at work from the folks who access our services, we are reminded that there are still glimpses of beautiful, joyful things in life along the way. And maybe, if we’re really paying attention, we’ll even catch glimpses of joy in the midst of our own personal sadness that we inevitably encounter on life’s road.

So, as we focus on the joy of others as well as our own, let us be mindful of those glimpses this month as we continue to strive to be ‘The hand of God in the heart of the city”.

With Joy,


Source of all joy,
May our days be full of moments,
Of glimpses,
Of joy,
Even in the midst of struggle.
We pray for smiles,
And joy,
For everyone;
No matter what.


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