Joy and Spiritual Survival

Hi there, welcome back!

Continuing our discussion on Joy.  I came across this talk given by the prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in the October 2016 General Conference.  You can find the whole talk here.  Joy and spiritual survival, it’s AMMMazing.  So go read it!

The one statement that stuck out to me was this:

“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”

I absolutely love that statement.  It’s so beautiful.  you see, we have the power within us to feel joy when we choose to focus on the Savior.  He is the one and only true source of light, love and true joy.  Granted, sometimes we can not change our circumstances but we can choose where our focus will be.  Even amidst the struggles and the trials of life, we can seek to feel joy in the little seemingly unnoticeable things.

I remember several times as a young mother when I was deep in the throngs of depression.  Every menial task seemed like it would overtake me.  It’s so hard to explain to someone who has never gone through depression.  But the feelings of doubt and inadequacy were so real and raw.  It was so hard just to get myself out of bed in the morning.  But I had 4 littles that needed their mama and that’s the only thing that kept me going. That, and my trust in the Lord that He had a bigger plan for me.

One morning everything seemed to be going wrong.  I felt I couldn’t even function normally.  As I reached up to grab a box of cereal, it came crashing down. Cereal scattered across the kitchen floor.  And all I could do was just sit down in the middle of the kitchen and cry.  “I can’t do this Lord”, “Please help me,” I pleaded.

As I opened my tear stained eyes and started to clean up the mess I hear pitter pattering across the floor.  “It’s ok mommy”.  All at once there it was an incredible, indescribable feeling of peace and joy that enveloped me as I scooped my daughter into my arms and just hugged her.  At that moment, I I felt the arms of the Savior around me like a warm blanket.  I know He was sending me a message that if I focused on Him and forgot the little unimportant things, in this case, cereal scattered on my floor, lol, that He would be there to pick up the pieces and help me get my life back.  That simple moment of joy, though brief, carried me through many moments as I learned how to battle my illness.

Life is not easy, all of us have things that we bear and struggle with, but if we can put our focus and trust in the Lord.  He will guide us…. always.  And we CAN have moments of joy scattered across our lives instead of cereal scattered across our floor.

Focus on the Savior.  He is the source of all joy!

XO Wendy

 

 

 

What does joy mean to you?

I am so happy to let you know that I am going to try something new with my blog.  And if all goes well with it and I can keep up, lol, it could work into even more exciting and fun things.  So starting today I will be posting daily, yes daily.  This will be your little daily dose of spiritual and/or motivational content.  Each day I will focus on various scriptures, quotes, motivational talks, etc.  It shouldn’t take you more than 3-7 minutes to read.  This one may be a bit longer because I want to explain why I am doing this.  I would love to have your feedback on things that you would like help with.  Or things that you have questions about that you would like me to study and share.  Or maybe things that I have posted in the past that you would like more of.  And then we will just walk this path together and hopefully it leads us all to somewhere great!

As you may know if you’ve followed me long enough, I LOVE journals!  I have several.  Gratitude journals, scripture journals, personal journals,  mental health journey journals, my favorite-things-I’ve-come-across-that-I-want-to-remember journals.

The funny thing is that they each have their purpose.  But right now they pile up in my home and no one gets to read them.  I really think that they can be of benefit to more than just me.

So on to today and this week’s ponderings. JOY!

JOY!

It’s so mysterious the way the Lord works.  I am continually amazed at how He threads and weaves patterns into our lives and increases our faith by the experiences that we are allowed to have. As I have been preparing my upcoming blogs this past week (because I have to be at least a few days ahead :)), and have been studying joy, I have had placed in my path too many coincidences to count as coincidences.  I have been shown, taught, or filled with joy through various avenues.  Whether it be through a quote or scripture that I have come across on social media etc., an act of service, or a talk that someone gave in church. Even in a book that was recommended  to others through a story on Instagram.  I love to see the Lord working in my life and in others.  He truly wants us to have this joy that feels our souls even in times of trial and difficulty.  I hope that you can find some of that joy today!

Something you should also know about me is that I am a thinker and a ponderer and a lover of learning, and I ask God a lot of questions.  What I know is that He always finds a way to give me the answers.  Sometimes they come soon and sometimes they take longer.  And to be honest, there are some that I am still waiting on the answers.  But here’s the thing, I KNOW that God loves me and I KNOW that He loves you too.  And if you ask, He has promised that you will receive.

Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Doctrine and Covenants 88:63

He wants the best for us He wants us to be happy and above that He wants us to have JOY!  He wants to bless us and He will meet us where we are and show us the way.

JOY!  There is a difference between happiness and joy.  I want you to ask yourself, what makes joy different than happiness for you?

Ponder on that, and today I want to share a story that comes from the Book of Mormon.  I’m not going to share the whole story here because I want you to go and read all of Alma 26 it is SO good!

This is the story of Ammon and his brethren who went to preach to the lamanites and converted many souls to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Ammon is expressing the joy he feels.   He states in  26:8. Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever. 

Here Ammon is expressing his joy for the conversion of many of the Lamanites.  In  fact he is so bold in his joy that his brother chastises him for boasting.  Ammon explains in V.11-12

11 … I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.

12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. 

and then further down in v. 36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people. 

Yes my friends, we have an awesome God who can bring so much joy!  He is mindful of our daily struggles but if we put our focus and trust in Him we can find that kind of joy.

I also did a little research on Joy which we will get more into as the week progresses.  However, if you look joy up in the dictionary it says that it is an emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.  Some synonyms for joy are; bliss, comfort, satisfaction, wonder, gladness, solace, treasure, elation, glee, delight, cheer, gaiety, gratification.  And these are just a few.

I asked my husband what he thought the difference was between joy and happiness, he explained that joy is so much more!  It envelops you, it’s encompassing, it pushes everything else away and consumes you in the most positive way.  I loved that so much!  In short, happiness is fleeting, an experience that comes and goes.  But joy is eternal, everlasting.

I have experienced that true unfiltered joy when I had each of my babies. There is just nothing like that feeling of being so joyful that you feel like you might burst!  Holding that miracle in your arms for the first time, snuggling that tiny nose.  And counting all 10 fingers and toes.  Having them snuggle into your chest and fall asleep.  And oh the smell of a newborn baby!  The feeling, that bond, is like nothing else in this world and it goes on and on as they grow, (even when they sometimes drive you crazy, haha).

There are a lot of other ways and times that joy is developed and grows and we’ll talk about it a lot more this week.   As you go about your day, ask yourself what brings me true joy, the kind that goes on and on?  And then take a minute to record it somewhere… maybe in a new pretty journal 😉 so you can read about that experience next time you are having a down day.  That’s it for today!  Make it a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow!

XO Wendy