Joy is about more than what we feel. That’s probably the most important part of what we learned from our passage Sunday. Joy is not in opposition to pain and sadness because it’s not the same thing. Often times we talk about allowing stress, fear, anger, and sadness “steal our joy” but that’s just not possible. Those two things are completely different. Here is why….
Emotions are based on circumstances. What you feel comes from the things around you, what you’re experiencing. So when things get hard in your life you can feel fear and you can feel sadness. Yet, things can get better and then all of sudden you can feel happy, hopeful, and confident. Our feelings are based on the things we are seeing and experiencing.
Our joy is based on something different. Our joy is based on the work, person, and love of Jesus that we cannot see. Yet in all our circumstances, in all our moments, in anything life can throw our way we can still carry joy. Here is the thing most people don’t talk about – you can be sad and joyful at the same time. You can feel anger and still have joy. You can be stressed and still “keep” your joy. One does not take the other.
Feel what you feel. Don’t be afraid to know what you’re going through and what your mind and heart are telling you. Feel the anger. Allow the sorrow to be there. Yet continue to focus on the joy as well. In your sorrow, remember the cross. In your anger, hold tight to the mercy you have experienced. In stress, stand firm on the joy that comes from knowing God is sovereign.
Feel what you feel and know that your feelings don’t change the joy available to you.