The other day I read, "There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace." Prov 12:20
Relationships are hard and not all the people we are in relationships with are easy to get along with. If you are struggling with a relationship, especially a relationship with someone close to you, it can be a real joy killer. As I sit in a particularly hard relationship right now this verse was a little reminder that I can have joy despite its hard because I know that while I might not be perfect in my heart I work to promote peace not plot evil.
Since joy is a choice rather than something that does or doesn't happen, you have to spend some time thinking about how to have joy. In this case I can experience joy when I remember that I am trying to promote peace and I see God applauds that behavior. I can let go of guilt or responsibility for the relationship which holds me back from joy. I am not perfect but I know my heart. And I remind myself that the battles before me are for God not me.
So I can look out the window and have joy because I can see the beauty of a fresh blanket of snow. I can have joy when I see my daughter sitting at the table working hard on her homework, I can have joy while laughing at my 5 year old nephew who has discovered how funny it is when he says, "Awkward!" in the middle of a conversation. And I can let myself step away from my stressful and at times difficult life to go help a friend with a church decorating project we both love to work on, the joy we both get from doing it together.
Where did you experience joy today?