Tidings of Comfort & Joy

All the reading and talking about “How We Love” by Milan & Kay Yerkovich – how important it is to have had a childhood experience of being comforted by a parent – really coming to grips (painful ones) on the long term effect of coming up empty in the comfort memory bank … if it’s true that it affects the way you seek and communicate love in adult relationships, well then I have some follow-on questions.

What about joy?  Does having an experience, a memory, a recollection of joy as the essence or flavor of your home life growing up – does that influence the joy we seek, communicate and play out in our adult relationships?

I have a friend whose joy is stunningly radiant, infectious, and she communicates so passionately, drawing out words in an elongated way that just oozes … Thank you sooooo much!!!  You are amaaaaazing – I loveeeeee you!!! How I love to be around her!  How I long to be that girl, to feel something little and common so deeply that I could make someone feel as special and stroked as she makes me feel – oh to be able to muster up that kind of expressed joy that looks nothing like mustered up or manufactured.

As I reflect back on my adult relationships with men, I am aware that I could never be totally happy, satisfied, or even content.  I was always wanting and whining for more.  Did I not recognize joy at the door of my heart?  Since I was never good enough to be celebrated as a child, since no one asked me what I wanted or needed growing up, was it anger from that woundedness that demanded (expected really!) that my husband bring me joy?  I feel like I somehow learned to give it – can you give what you don’t know?

As a now single person and empty nester living entirely solo and on my own, with no family even in the same state, how do I seek joy?  Where do I find it?  I love Joyce Meyer‘s line “There is no room in your future for your past” – seriously, doesn’t that hit you right between the eyes?  My NLT Bible Dictionary/Concordance defines JOY this way – “the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune” – hmmm … another eye-banger!  Well-being is something I’ve only felt in the last 5 years, and even then, it was only a seed in its beginnings half a decade ago.

Where did I learn joy along the way?  To have it, to give it?  My journey into Paul’s Epistles gave me great insight.

Philippians 1:4 – Paul prayed with joy for other believers he called “my partners in spreading the Good News”.

Philippians 1:25 – Paul says he lives to continue to help the believers grow and experience the joy of their faith.

Philippians 4:1 – Paul gives encouragement to his brothers & sisters in Christ to stay true to the Lord as he professes his love for them and says “For you are my JOY and the crown I receive for my work”.

Galatians 5:22 – the Holy Spirit produces joy as fruit in our lives.

Where did I learn joy, to have it, to give it?  It is rooted in my relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit, and other believers.  As I pray for my partners in spreading the Gospel, live to help others grow and claim all God has for them, and relish the fruit the Holy Spirit produces in my life day in and day out, I can say to my church community, my small group, my life coaching clients, my brothers and sisters in Christ – You are my JOY and the crown I receive for my work!

What brings you joy?  Share with me, dear ones!