Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Brings You Joy?

The other day I was waiting in a very long line at Walmart, and naturally, the store was filled with old people, poor people, grumpy people, women on their phones, men looking bored, teens rolling their eyes, crying babies-you name them, they were all there. I'm trying to be patient, but God didn't gift me with this virtue, patience is something I'm (ahem) cultivating. I watch as the lady in front of me gives the child that she's with a candy bar from the rack, and boy-oh-boy, you should have seen the smile on that kid's face!
Now candy can bring momentary happiness-my research tells me that eating chocolate increases the levels of endorphins in the brain; they in turn work to lessen pain and decrease stress. Also, the neurotransmitter serotonin is affected by chocolate. Serotonin is sort of the brain's anti-depressant. Give me a Hershey bar (with almonds please!) and yep, that will make me happy! The hubs is no dummy, after 32 years of marriage, he's learned that chocolate can smooth over the minor bumps in the road.
But happiness is an emotion-it doesn't stick around. Something always seems to take our happiness and replace it with something else. If there's a lesson in life to be learned, it's this: don't expect happiness to be your BFF! Learn this and your life will be much happier-hehe.
Joy now, why that's a different story isn't it? Joy is defined as 'the source or cause of delight- something or someone greatly valued or appreciated'. Joy is something that can't be taken away-no matter what the world throws at us ( and jeez, doesn't the world love to trip us up?). Joy, REAL JOY- sticks with us. Here's just a few bible verses about joy:

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of
mourning and clothed me with joy." Psalm 30:11

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

"Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my
shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give
thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:6,7

So the question is-what brings you joy?

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