Thursday, September 20, 2012

the goal of joy

[my boys, from our hiking trip yesterday]

Joy. Ah... yes. I might be needing some of that... That has always been the goal of the fullest life - joy. [one thousand gifts. page 32]

When I sit down to write a list of goals, which I often do, because I love lists, they usually include things like:

-read that book
-get an oil change
-finish a craft/sewing project
-develop film for the month
-go on a trip
-study that book of the Bible
-eat healthier
-get out of the house more often
-try new recipes
-join a small group
-start running
-grow tomatoes
-take a photography class
-have more babies
-write a book

... you get the picture. In fact, all of those are goals I have set in the past (but not always completed).

But you know what is never on my goal list? joy.

I've never sat down, written out a list of the things I want in life, the things I desire to accomplish or obtain and written the word joy.

And I think that goes to show that I've missed it. I've missed how to actually enjoy life to its fullest. I mean, growing my own tomatoes is a pretty cool thing to accomplish, but it won't make my life complete. I can read 198239 different books this year and yet, there will still be something lacking. I could take private photography lessons, become really great at capturing life in a still shot and still be missing something.

And like Ann says in that quote above, I could really use some of that joy right now. I'm not talking happiness or contentment. I mean real, deep, joy from the Lord.

Happiness is so overrated. It's here for a moment and then it's gone. I smile because something makes me happy but the moment something sad crosses my mind, that happy moment dissipates.

Contentment is a wonderful thing to have, but it has to be learned. And it's often a gruesome process. I'm not a fan of learning to be content, although I know God thinks I need it because it's a lesson I'm always in the midst of.

But joy. Joy is something that can't be taken from you. We are able to have the full measure of Jesus' joy within us! As Ann points out in chapter 2 of one thousand gifts, it's something that is cultivated through thanksgiving. And as John says, it's something that can be complete. I don't know about you, but I want complete joy!

I didn't make a 27@27 goal list this year like I did last year for 26. 27 things just seemed like a lot of goals to come up with and then to accomplish! But I do know there is one goal that I'd like to be on my list if I had made one: joy. Now to work at that. And I think I'll start here: Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the eucharisteo - the table of thanksgiving [one thousand gifts. page 32-3].

I'm linking up with Annie and Margaret as we read through one thousand gifts.


  1. This chapter was a wonderful reminder of how to truly live life to the fullest. It's not about having more and better stuff. It's about being thankful and appreciating what you do have. This is completely the opposite of what our culture teaches us, so it's difficult.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

  2. It's so hard to think of joy as something tangible & something achievable! But I think you're so right to point it out as such. Joy is definitely something I want to achieve this year, too. Thanks for your thoughts, Jessi!

  3. this was convicting for me to read, friend. thank you! my lists often look like yours, and i need to remember to strive for things like joy rather than just material or physical things i need to do.

    love you girl!! :)