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Count It All Joy: How to Find Your Joy When All Seems Lost

Count it all joy. The words seem nice enough. After all, they are from Scripture.

Practically speaking, they are not fun. The phrase indicates that no matter what the season, or the time, or the place, you are supposed to count it all joy.

What if you don’t want to? What if the pain weighs you down so much you have to curl up in a ball to protect yourself from the crushing?

What if you can’t? What if the darkness has become so think you can see any spark of light?

What if you aren’t willing, at least for the moment? What if the struggles come in waves that knock you down, suck you under, and toss you around without allowing a breath.

What if it doesn’t look or feel at all like joy?

Kind of harsh coming from the Hopesmith, right?

But we all get there. The person you see as positive and uplifting all the time, even she gets there. She just works hard to make sure when she gets there that she doesn’t throw it all on you and doesn’t drag you down with her.

But count it all joy? Even she struggles with that directive.

Understanding Joy

Count it all joy when you fall into trials, because the testing of your faith produces patience and when patience is perfect then you will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1: 2 – 4

When you research the Greek word that has been translated to joy, you find the “chara” or calm delight. That’s a very different place than the definition offered by Webster which defines it as an emotion from success or good fortune or a cause of delight.

Still, I can get my arms around the calm part. It’s the delight part of joy that can bring me up short. Why would I want to find delight of any kind in my trials?

You have to keep reading to get it, because James explans it. The struggles we go through are what mold us into the completion of God. It is only in the completion of God that we are perfect and lacking nothing.

So, it’s joy when we go through stuff because stuff walked out through God and in God brings us to the point of the exceedingly, abundantly blessed.

Working to Count It All Joy

My grandmother died on my birthday. Although I knew the moment she was gone that I would miss her, I counted her passing as a joyful moment. She had gone on my birthday, which I chose to then celebrate as her new birthday.

Counting it all joy works that wan for most things in our life. We have to get beyond the initial grief and anger before we can begin to move to that place of calm delight.

Yesterday, I hit a breaking point. I was mad and annoyed and more than a little bit angry. My friend and fellow encourager, Gene Hendrix, sent me a rando note of inspiration. I heard my phone chirp the message’s arrival, and when I looked I literally said aloud, “I don’t want to be encouraged right now.”

I ignored his message because I wanted to wallow around in my annoyance for a time, or time, or time and a half. Working to count it joy will always be impossible until I move to a place where I’m ready to make the choice for the calm delight of being molded into so much more.

Knowing doesn’t always translate into being. – Kathryn Lang

#QutoeoftheDay - knowing doesn't always translate into being.

Count it all joy

How to Find Your Joy

Find your joy and hold tight to it. I’ve read the words. I’ve said the words. I’ve written the words or at least something like them. I believe in the importance of joy for walking out a bold and purposeful life.

Knowing doesn’t always translate into being.

There are those times, with a simple turn of phrase, someone can cause me to toss my joy right out the door. Or maybe they’re running over my joy with something they do.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s that I’m tired – tired of not measuring up (or in some ways measuring WAY over what I want). I”m tired of not seeing a return on the investment. I’m tired of trying when that’s all I seem to be doing – is trying.

The why behind the action matters little. My joy is still gone.

How do you find joy when you seem determined to let it go?

  1. Be okay with not being okay. There is a time for every season, including be angry or hurt. The Scripture doesn’t say don’t get angry. It tells us not to sin in the angry moments. 
  2. Allow for your healing process. You are unique in all the world, and your healing will be as well. Trying to fit into someone else’s timeline will only make it take longer.
  3. Remember the truth of joy. Joy is not an emotion that shows happiness, acceptance, or even contentment. Instead, it is the recognition that you are being made into so much more and that the One making you has the wheel. 
  4. There can be crying in joy. Unlike baseball, crying is allowed. Joy can come through tears.
  5. Let it go. Sometimes the only way to find your joy is to let go of the pain and darkness. If you have to, write it down and then literally throw it away. Whatever it takes to release it so you can make way for joy.

Some days will be tough. Some days will feel impossible alone. Joy is the reminder that you aren’t alone, even when reality tries to show you different. Your Daddy went before you to make a way unique to you. Each step you take in Him will move you closer to that blessed life He designed just for you.

So, count it all joy.

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