Let me give you a quick example of the difference between happiness and joy. My grandson, Domenic, just turned nine the day of this podcast so Trish and I went to our daughter’s house for dinner to celebrate. Once we finished the formality of eating dinner, Domenic became ever more excited as the time for cake, candles and gifts approached. He was genuinely happy and the emotion poured out of him. His eleven-month old sister, Autumn, joined in with his happiness in a way that only an infant can. As I watched his unbridled actions and expressions I looked over at our daughter Amy as she watched her two children interact with their dad. What I saw in her face was bigger than happiness. I saw joy. I saw that deep and satisfying state of mind that absorbs appreciates and is transformed by an open-hearted embracing of a significant experience - in this case it was the experience of raising two precious children. Her joy was much more than the joy of that particular moment; it was the joy of the precarious journey of parenthood.
Finding such joy is difficult, for it cannot be summoned simply because we want it, and this is why we talked about Zacchaeus in our podcast. You remember Zacchaeus. He was the short guy in Jericho who climbed a tree so he could get a glimpse of Jesus as he walked by. Jesus unexpectedly saw him and opened up a life of joy for him that he could have never anticipated. So, what did Zacchaeus do to be in position to receive such joy? He allowed himself to be vulnerable. He allowed himself to be the recipient of ridicule and gossip and he even allowed his own weaknesses to be put on display. Like I said, he allowed himself to be vulnerable.
It turns out that we cannot find life-changing joy unless we are willing to navigate the unsettling waters of vulnerability. Now, I understand that even thinking about "navigating through vulnerability" is uncomfortable. This is why you need to check out our November 7, 2016 podcast, “Is Your Heart Looking for Jesus?” It walks you through identifying and taking some steps to joy and it also gives you tools to use along the way. Check it out! What you find might prove to be priceless!
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