“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.” – Galatians 5:22-23
About this time last year these verses were put on my heart and I began to approach 2017 as “the year of The Fruit of the Spirit.”
My initial thoughts; “cool!”
Now, looking back I can see how God showed Himself to me in each of these areas of my heart throughout the year. They almost went in order which was cool, until patience… Right? I mean love, joy, and peace are some pretty awesome aspects of God to see active in your life. I’ve had a lot of time recently to just sit and reflect on life and especially this past year. It’s truly been the best one yet and with that has come A LOT OF EMOTIONS! I’ve never experienced emotion like I have this past year. New emotions, too. I thought by 21 I’d have already been pretty well acquainted with emotion but one thing year 22 and 2017 has taught me is that I’m definetly still an amature emotionalist (I think I made that word up??). You’re probs thinking, “Wow, Suz, you’re being a little over dramatic,” with which I would reply, “Have you ever cried over a muffin because it’s the last one you’ll eat at your favorite dining hall?” Haha, yes, maybe it’s being a little over dramatic but that’s just a glimpse of the random things I’ve become emotionally attached to. With my recent ponderings of why, how, and where are all these emotions coming from I realized – “the year of The Fruit of the Spirit”. All these things love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control come with a lot of emotions behind them. God’s helped me experience these things for a reason, which I am just beginning to uncover and now know I am called to share some of what I’ve learned with you. It’s not going to all happen at once, but, with time I will write about what God’s put on my heart to share with you about each of these fruits.
Without further ado, I begin with JOY:
There are so many different ways in which I find joy in this world. When I think about individual people and how unique God made each of us I often think about the things we find joy in. There is such a large variety of ways in which people both find and express joy. Some find joy is sport and most express it with loud cheers and high fives, whereas others source of joy is in making new discoveries under a microscope and their celebration may be milder like a simple smile quietly playing across their face. But, I imagine the feelings are quite the same when we reach the pinnacle of our joy.
Lately, I have found more joy in very ordinary situations. Its simple acts of buying dinner for a friend, playing games, making dinner for my family, driving my sisters around, talking about the church service with a friend, listening to someone talk about their passions, that soften my heart and make me unbelievably happy. We often feel like we need to be given something to have joy, where in reality it’s just the opposite. It’s amazing to see the more we humbly give of ourselves how our hearts are changed, touched, moved, and brought to joy.
I’m not trying to diminish the act of receiving of gifts. I, as much as anybody, enjoy receiving a thoughtful gift. I love when I’m given a gift that was thought out and planned, like they paid attention to my interests. These moments bring me joy, and rightfully so.
Another way in which I find joy is in nature. Seeing God’s beautiful handiwork all over. Stargazing, sunrises, sunsets, mountains, snow, rain, lightning, flowers, waterfalls… this is an unexhausted list of His great creation that I continue to marvel at to this day. When I gaze upon these things I cannot help but have a silly smile plastered on my face, and I call that joy!
Friendship is another source of my joy. Honest, loving, caring, genuine relationship is hard to find but when it’s found my heart literally jumps with joy. There are times after hanging out with the people God has placed in my life that I just lay in bed with a cheesy smile giggling to myself because of the joy that I have found in those people.
How do you experience joy? Figure it out and make it a habit 🙂