I think sometimes we confuse happiness with joy. Maybe it’s just nitpicky to separate the two words and clarify their definitions. Maybe it seems unimportant. But what if we knew that happiness was being content…but JOY was something altogether different, something even better? Being content is rare, especially in the days we live in. People in general are in a hurry because they need to be somewhere, are striving for money because they are not happy with what they have, and complain about every little thing in their life because their FOCUS is wrong. I’m not pointing the finger. I’ve been one of these people. What happens then is contentment, happiness, joy…and a whole slew of other obscure ideas…get clumped together into an unreachable reality that none of us really ever expect to find or achieve. I remember thinking that PEACE was an undiscovered place…that it was a word used to describe what WOULD be IF it were possible. I found out I was wrong.
There really IS peace, contentment, happiness, joy…fulfillment. And each of these things is something unique, different from each other, and incredible all on it’s own! I grew up in a Christian home, but I never knew any of these things from personal experience until I actually MET the Lord in December of 2014. Looking back, I can see how much PAIN my soul was in…how desperate, dark, hopeless, bound, and twisted. It sounds extreme…but it’s the reality for most people. The people around you don’t KNOW they are in that dark place until they have been pulled out of it. I didn’t. You didn’t. When the Holy God of the universe arrested my spirit, grabbed my attention, snapped me out of my cycle of self…that is when I was truly set FREE.
Freedom. Another word we are unsure of…unaware of what it REALLY means until we have been there. What I am trying to say is that I have experienced these. When He stopped me in my tracks and said “LOOK AT ME…I WANT YOU TO FOLLOW ME”, I did. Not everyone does, but by the grace of God, I did. Since that moment my life has started to transform. Nothing got easier…in fact, it really got harder…but I would not go back for ANYTHING! He has given so much since then and I cannot wait to find more of Him because what I have found already…is what I thought was unreachable before. He has freely given JOY…a bursting, burning, beautiful lightness coming from within that only GROWS and doesn’t fade! He has freely given PEACE…a true dependency on Him, and the absence of all fear! He has freely given FREEDOM…I have need of nothing and the life that controlled me before is no longer my master! He has freely given HAPPINESS…true contentment with what I have been given, thankfulness for even the simplicity of breath! He has freely given FULFILLMENT…He placed HIS desires in my heart so that my heart would desire HIS plans and then He fulfills them like only He can! And so much more.
Without Christ we are blind to what these things truly are and what they mean. They appear unreachable or even shallow. But if you have received Christ and KNOW these beautiful gifts, you and I have a responsibility to share them with those around us! We are the definition of what these things mean! We are the proof that they are REAL and are obtainable!
Every time I look at my beautiful son or my incredible wife I am filled with joy and am reminded of what God has given me. Remembering what He pulled me out of and knowing that so many are still unknowingly in that same place is what moved me to share this on our blog…I know it is heavy…but it’s not! It is so wonderful!! I want to share this incredible joy with everyone I meet, every photographer I connect with, and every client I serve!
“…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” – Isaiah 61:3