Thursday, May 23, 2013

Letters to My Daughters: Choose Joy (Part 2)

Dear Daughters,

Last time I wrote this: A deep, abiding joy will serve you well in life—I encourage you to find it.

Still here.

Still encouraging.

Find joy.

Joy is a people-magnet. Joy is a relationship-builder. Joy is a life-giver.

Find it.

So you’re probably wondering how. How do I find joy when I am feeling so out-of-it at school? How do I find joy when I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my life? How do I find joy when I feel like there’s a limited supply and everyone around me has my share of it?

Some days I feel like I’m not the best person to answer these questions—I’ve asked them all myself. Some days I feel the least equipped to talk about finding joy because I let all of those Cs take over and my soul is sapped.

And on those days, I run, RUN, to my Bible.

Recently I flipped to the concordance in the back of my Bible and looked under the word “joy.” What I found astonished me, I’m ashamed to admit. I should have known.

Nearly every reference to joy in my Bible concordance was tied to God or Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. Yes, there’s the famous verse in which Paul encourages the Philippians to “make my joy complete by being of like-minded,” but mostly that has to do with their dedication to Christ, their unity in Him.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Joy is tied up with our relationship to God. He is the source of true joy.

I’ve told you this often, but I think it bears repeating here: the only life worth living is one totally dedicated to Christ because only in Him will you find true fulfillment.

Or true joy.

Just check your concordance.

So if God is our source of true joy, lasting joy, real joy, let me be very obvious here and talk about what will not bring you joy.






More stuff.

You get where I’m going. Every day you probably see people trying their best to find true joy by pursuing things, but I’m telling you it’s fruitless. The celebrities you see on T.V. can’t find it. People who look to bigger houses or flashier vacations can’t find it. Even we ourselves can’t find it apart from Christ.

Think about the travels we’ve taken as a family. Some of the most joyful people we’ve met have been people who have barely anything that this world would consider significant or important. But they have Jesus, and that makes their lives rich.

Remember Iris in Brazil? This single mom had one son of her own and was hoping to adopt two Brazilian children so that they wouldn’t have to live on the streets.  She didn’t have much, but she had a roof over her head that she longed to share with others.

Iris was also a fantastic baker, and she shared her skill with us when she baked Kate’s birthday cake that year. I still remember the smile on her face when she brought the cake over to help celebrate her birthday. Even though Iris had very little in the way of earthly possessions, that woman knew real joy.

You know this lesson in your heads—we’ve preached it to you your entire lives—but take it into your hearts and know this for certain: true joy can only be found in one place.

Seek it. Pursue it. Find it.

Choose it.

I love you,


1 comment:

  1. Just read your last four posts, and I'm not sure which one I like best. Maybe this one. Or maybe the three C's post. Yes, that might be it. Or maybe I should just say the same thing I always say to myself when I read what you write: "Yes. YES."

    Right now it's 68 degrees and almost no humidity, blue skies, no clouds. In North Carolina. On Memorial Day weekend. What on earth?? Want to come visit???