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Authentic Joy

What brings you joy, Karen May, Amayzing Graces

In this Marie Kondo world, we’ve learned to search for our joy. Today I challenge you to look a little deeper. Don’t ask “What brings me joy?” Ask “What brings me joy that lasts?”

What brings you joy? True joy. Fulfilling joy. Have you ever wondered?

I’m sure you have, but have you discovered what it is?

Saint Ignatius, before he was on the road to sainthood, was holed up for months healing from a war injury that would never heal enough for him to return to his beloved battlefield. He had been a man searching for glory and it was on his sickbed that he finally found it.

As he recalled the stories of chivalry, romance, and military heroism he was inspired and energized. When he read the stories of saints and holy people in the one book that was available to him during his recuperation, he was inspired and energized but in a much different way.

The stories of adventure and chivalry excited him for a short time, but soon he would feel empty and needing more. The stories of the saints inspired him and drew his spirits up and kept them there. The heroism he had been seeking and living was just a taste of the true heroism he desired.

How often do we mistake simple happiness or short-lived pleasure as the fulfillment of our true desires? If you’re like me, it’s pretty darn often. I’ve started to recognize that I’m swimming in the shallows when the things that bring me joy don’t last very long. I’m restless, more easily irritated, and always looking for more.

When I’m swimming in the deep, connected to the purpose of God, living with God’s will as my center and God’s purpose as my base then I literally feel like I am floating through life. Even when a challenging situation arises, I return to a place of peace and enter in, knowing that God has blessings in store. I am filled with joy, peace, confidence, and love. I am still looking for more but this time with a spirit of gratitude, knowing that if I only receive what I have then it is enough.

It can be discouraging when our joy isn’t as fulfilling as it should be, but we shouldn’t give up hope. Instead, we can take it as a nudge towards the joy we are meant for. Our hearts long for the things that give us rest. It’s up to us to continue the quest to discover them.

Have you felt that deep joy in your life? What helps you get there? What helps you find it again when you lose it?

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