The Staying Power of Joy

1 Chronicles 16:27 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place. It’s the new year, which means it’s time to renew a commitment to health, exercise, hydration, and nutrient-rich meals. I recently received a guide with some suggestions for healthier meal options that I can easily make at home. It’s no secret that when my dinner features a colorful combination of lean protein, sensible carbohydrates and vegetables, I’m going to be much more satisfied and full in contrast to eating, say, a number 1 Chick-fil-A combo with sweet tea. Don’t worry, this blog isn’t turning into a tome to healthy living in 2016, but rather, I make the parallel because I’ve been spending a lot of time with my team and in my personal life studying joy and its lasting power versus happiness and its fleeting presence. Happiness is so conditional on circumstances – what I’m wearing, how my nails look, if I’m having a good hair day, if a piece of art or a candle sells… it shows up, and then it vanishes because of a costly car repair, a tense conversation, things not going my way… that’s the problem with “being happy.” It’s elusive, a temporary state. Happiness “happens,” and it ebbs and flows. Joy, on the other hand, lasts, and its presence isn’t influenced by the circumstances swirling around me. Joy is rooted in trusting the identity of who I am in Christ and how He sees me. I am joyful because I am His. There are so many threats to our joy, of course, the lies of the enemy, doubt, fear, anxiety, a poor doctor’s report, media sensationalism. Our joy is threatened when we let vines planted by the enemy grow and uproot what God cultivated in us when we were created. That’s why, unlike the happenstance of happiness (do you see how similar the words themselves are), joy is a choice. We have to wake up every day and claim joy… choose to acknowledge the joy that exists because God allowed us to see a new day and to live for Him. 2016 is sure to bring highs and lows for all of us… moments of exhilaration, triumph, victory, and, yes, happiness, but also surely moments of sadness, grief, struggle, and sadness, but thanks to the seeds the Lord planted in us, we can choose JOY to amplify the goodness and in spite of the trials. What good and perfect gifts from above has God given you that help remind you to choose joy? What brings you the most joy in the face of struggles? "The Colors of Capri" by Charles Ross Oil on canvas, 50" x 40" Available at Anne Neilson Fine Art. For purchase details, contact Gallery Director Martha Truslow at