Have you ever heard something and felt like it totally resonated with you? The other week I was having a particularly hard week. I was watching as things around me were not coming together the way that I would have hoped, my schedule had me out more nights than not, and I had to press into a few difficult conversations. It left me feeling anything less than happy.
While shuffling through my “Kings Kaleidoscope” iTunes radio station, I came across this song. I immediately favorited it, and added it to my wish list. The words and melody of this song needed to be one click away for me in times like the one I was describing. I needed to be reminded of these great truths… Take the next 4 minutes and 37 seconds to listen to the lyrics of this song.
In my ebook, “Empowered” I take a look at how we should be growing in Joy. Too often our culture tells us we should be happy all the time, yet scripture tells us we should be joyful.
Joy is the inner peace that says, this is good enough. Joy is not affected by the circumstances around you. Happiness depends on what is happening to you, joy does not. Joy cannot be and is not situational.
I love how Tifah Al-Alttas, the singer-songwriter frames the truths of that song with the melody. It is real, and understandable. It is as if she is saying, I choose to be joyful even though the melody of my life has been set in a minor key lately. Listen to how Tifah describes the birth of this song:
The first time I played Joy was the night my father passed away. He
had a short and painful battle with cancer. My dad was not perfect
but he did the best he could with what he had. A year before he died
he was diagnosed with dementia. The day he told me he had cancer he
said it was a blessing. To him, cancer was a better way to end his
story than a mind with no memory of his family or his life. So as I
sat at the piano, the only place that felt safe that night to me, the
weight of loss hit my chest. I remembered my eyes were blurred with
tears and I literally began to play the now familiar progression of
Joy. I kept cycling through the progression and then, as if it had
already been written, I began to sing a different melody to a song I
sang in VBS as a child, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my
heart…” The truth is that I was terribly and profoundly sad. The
reality of grief had not even entirely hit me yet. But at the same
moment I had a deep sense of peace. He was no longer in pain. He was
no longer sick. He was free from all his ailments and restored.
Although I still miss him, I know that God has weaved redemption
through death into my father’s story. That brings me great joy. It
was not until grief became a part of my story that I realized that joy
is not simply an expression, but an attitude and acknowledgment of the
deep peace of knowing a Savior.
Remember joy is not dependent upon your situation. Joy is a choice, it is a way of life. It is a decision that you make when you wake up to choose your outlook no matter what may happen that day.
Where in your life do you need to choose joy? I know it isn’t easy, but it is an incredible free fall into the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ.