Philippians 4:12-13 Paul says I have learned the secret to being content in any situation. being content... having joy. i found this during worship on sunday morning. because we were singing a song that had a verse about joy. God has been teaching me how to find joy in all circumstances. which, i can only describe the way that Paul did. being content. not over zealously thrilled, but content. is it possible to have joy in mourning? in suffering? in depression? only if you draw strength from Christ Jesus. does that make sense? Paul thought so. we celebrate joy at christmas time. joy to the world. somehow we've attached it to a seasonal holiday.
i'm reading a book called "Provocative Faith" right now. in it, the author recalls an experience during a mission trip to romania. there he visited an orphanage where they were greeted by a youg boy who asked the mission team to join him in singing "Jesus Loves Me". the author couldn't help but think about this kid's evidently broken past, his present circumstance, and his bleak future. how could he want nothing more than to sing this song? where was his inspiring joy coming from?
presently, i am unemployed. not to embelish on this struggle in my life, i mean, what is this? a blog?? ...but at times i wonder how God could know this and have my best interest in mind. another month like this and my credit history is at stake. debt will soon arise. debt is not good. student loans are not good when you can't pay them back. but God knows this. and still He is telling me to be content? if i go a day dwelling on my circumstances, i face a battle of depression. yet if i keep my eyes on God, the battle is won.
last week i attended a jobconnect workshop to help me with interview skills, resume writing and all the fun stuff that comes with job searching. there were two of us in that workshop. during our break, i had a conversation with the guy beside me. he was fresh out of highschool who described himself as an "entrepreneur"... his mother signed him up to take this workshop in hopes that he might get a real job and earn an honest living. he was a dealer. as much as i could not relate to him, i told him that the path he was on had a dark future. and the longer he stayed on that path, the harder it would be to get off. he acknowledged this, telling me how much he was making, which was immensely more than if he were to work for a legal company.
perhaps joy is not an emotion. perhaps joy does not come in an ecstacy pill. perhaps joy does not come in the magical time of christmas. the analogy here is pretty straight forward: there is no quick fix solution to inner turmoil. from happypills to a permasmile.
i'm sure that joy can be a warm fuzzy feeling at times. i believe it is intended to. but joy has a second definition: contentment in any situation. joy as a virtue.