What does it mean to have a joyful heart?
Does joy require you to walk around with a smile pasted on your face every single day? Or is joy more than just a happy feeling?
For this week’s #SummerSizzleBlogHop series, I have my friend Dawn Klinge with me to share what she’s learned about joy. Dawn set out to spend an entire year studying joy and she’s learned a thing or two — which she’s not keeping to herself.
And if you meet Dawn in person, you will see that joy isn’t just a word to study. Dawn has a contentment about her that comes from trusting God. She not just talks about joy, she pursues it in her life.
By the way, the #SummerSizzleBlogHop series features nine inspiring Christian bloggers. We’ve pulled our best Christian faith content from our treasure chests to encourage you this summer. This is our final week but if you missed any you can catch them all here.
Now it’s Dawn’s turn to spread the shine! And it’s all about having a joyful heart.
5 Characteristics of a Joyful Heart
by Dawn Klinge
Last year I set out to learn all I could about trusting Jesus. Trust was my word of the year. This year, the word joy, is what God seemed to place on my heart. Initially, my reaction to the word, joy, was…great; this year is going to be all about fun! And maybe it will be. But that’s not what joy is all about.
I’m learning that joy is a natural extension of the word I studied last year: trust. Trusting Jesus leads to joy. I’m also learning that you can’t think about joy without reflecting on another word: sorrow. They’re two sides to the same coin.
There’s a place a where trusting Jesus leads. It leads to joy!
“Joy is the unwavering trust that God knows what He’s doing and has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of it- not despite what’s happening in my life, but because of it.” Sara Frankl, Choose Joy
The person with a joyful heart, trusts God.
Instead of looking to their circumstances, those with a joyful heart look to God, with confidence, knowing that he is in control and knows what he’s doing. (Romans 8:28)
The person with a joyful heart, obeys God and follows His Word.
People with a joyful heart know that God’s instructions in the Bible may not always be easy to follow- but they trust that they’re there for a reason, that they are divinely inspired and are for our good and God’s glory.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full.” John 15:11 (ESV)
The person with a joyful heart, prays and spends time in God’s presence.
When we pray, we may not always feel God’s presence, but we can trust that God is always with us and that he hears our prayers. If you don’t feel his presence, it doesn’t mean he isn’t there. Keep seeking him.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forever more.” Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
The person with a joyful heart, practices gratitude.
“It’s amazing that when you look at what you have, instead of what you won’t or don’t have, you usually see that in one form or another you’ve gotten what you wished for. “ Sara Frankl, Choose Joy
The person with a joyful heart, understands the difference between happiness and joy (and they accept sorrow)
Joy comes from the inside. Happiness is based on external circumstances.
“The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can’t stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope–and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend up on it) disappoint us.” –Walter Wangerin Jr., Reliving the Passion: Meditations on the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus as Recorded in Mark.
As I study what joy is all about, I know that I still have much to learn. I realize that I’ve already experienced an incredible amount of joy in my life and I’m grateful for it. I also realize that it’s not only okay, but it’s good to want more joy! Because really, when I’m asking for more joy, what I’m asking for is more of Jesus.
How about you?
Do you want to have a joyful heart? It starts with trusting Jesus.
Plus, we always love to hear from you. What encouragement can you offer to other women who want to have a joyful heart? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Dawn is a freelance writer and Christian blogger who loves encouraging women to keep their focus on Jesus. She’s the author of Look to Jesus: How to Let Go of Worry and Trust God. She’s a wife and mom to two teens. A Seattle girl, she loves books and coffee. You can find her at Above the Waves.
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