29 Days of Living Well: BEAR FRUIT – JOY
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
I wrote recently that one of the reasons I moved away from D.C. in 2018 is because I let fear get in front of faith and rob my joy. D.C. is an expensive city to live in, and I wasted a lot of energy complaining about how little I was making at my non-profit organization. I let a chorus of “if only’s” become my reality which eventually led to moving back to Missouri.
“If only they paid a little better...”
“If only I were married to someone rich in D.C...”
“If only I could work somewhere else...”
“If only I could move back to Missouri where the cost-of-living is significantly lower!”
If only, if only, if only… the list went on and on. But what “if only” I had put more energy into maintaining my joy? When I think about joy and the fruit of the Spirit, I think about Jesus and the joy that was set before him to endure the cross. Reconciliation to God for all humankind was on the other side of crucifixion. And no matter how hard it gets, enduring the cost-of-living in D.C. on a non-profit budget is not a crucifixion. One of the biggest roadblocks to joy is ourselves.
Upon returning to D.C. I had to recognize that joy is not always filled with smiles and laughter. The word used in this passage where we get our translation for joy means a “calm delight.” Joy is not bound up in having it all together. Joy is a posture or a state of being. Joy exists when you have an assurance that all of your experiences cannot keep you away from your purpose. True joy has hope in the end goal, not the daily trials.