July JOY

Christopher Flynn “Deuce” Johnson Jr. is my favorite nephew. If you’ve ever been in his presence, you have been thoroughly entertained. He wiggles and jiggles his stout lil body in all sorts of contortionist-like ways. And you cannot tell him he’s not Michael Jackson reincarnate. If there’s music, Deuce is moving his body. The absolute BEST part is the supreme JOY on his face when he’s dancing. And if he catches you watching – OH DOUBLE THE JOY! He smiles with his entire face and seeing the JOY in his eyes is like an airborne contagion. You can’t help but do nothing less than to least smile. I desperately needed that smile this week…The last couple of days have been tough! But, I believe I’m TOUGHER. I mean I can think of a few combinations of expletives to expound upon how I’ve had to PRESS – you know me (lol).

It’s extremely vital to know yourself. How do the weeks of the month affect your emotions? And if we are integrated beings (body, soul and spirit) then we must be aware that each facet affects the other. For example, when I am physically exhausted I am susceptible to spiritual and/or emotional attacks. This week was a fricken doozy and to be honest, I have no desire to rehearse it all. If you want to know or care, I’ll tell you personally. Hit me up and I promise I will. Needless to sa, I needed JOY but I was at a loss of figuring out how to get it/receive it/retrieve it/ SOMETHING! I’m desperate to figure this all out – DESPERATE!

I’ve been thinking about the definition of JOY. There is a religious answer about what JOY is. Most people define it by making a distinction between happiness and JOY. Happiness is shown on the outside while JOY is on the inside. JOY has been defined as a decision to believe what the Word of God says is true no matter the circumstances. While happiness is solely based on circumstances. So, when the day is tough or long happiness is unreachable, while JOY should nonetheless be tangible even though it may not show in your emotions. This definition has never set well with me. I just feel like Kingdom ideas ought to permeate countenance also. However, I’ll be the first to admit that this is most times humanly impossible especially when the emotion is overwhelming. So, what should I do? How do I experience JOY? Honestly, this weekend, I fricken missed it! Maybe we can discover the first part of the code in the Word of God.

Tuesday morning in my devotions, I asked the Lord, “What the heck should I do?” I had already read the scriptures and highlighted what stood out. His answer was within the verses that I highlighted. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. From these verses I understand at least 3 things.

First, JOY is a command rather than a gift. Galatians 5:22 is a one of the most popular verses that mentions JOY. It is listed among the Fruits of the Spirit and the language suggest that this fruit is a gift. There’s nothing like a juicy sweet mango, however, the language used in this verse makes me feel like JOY is a command rather than a gift. Because of the way that JOY has been presented in Christendom, it’s seen to be a benefit instead of a command. I can see the benefit and truth in both, especially when times are Tough. But HOW THE HECK DO YOU DO THAT when the whole weekend SUCKS butt? I believe the answer is in the other 2 verses.

Secondly, prayer is more powerful than a whisper seems. Let me explain. I just read a book called Whisper by Mark Batterson. He reminded us that the Lord speaks in a still, small voice – a whisper. Seems like such a slight and powerless sound from such a powerful King of all the earth. My thought is, since God speaks in whispers, maybe a whisper is all God needs from us. Whispers force the listeners to draw very close. Prayer is the ability to exercise your right as a Believer to connect with God. More specifically, the specific key to prayer for this digit of the code to get JOY is constant prayer. There’s something special about having a direct connect with the Holy Spirit that aids in moments when you feel helpless. It is difficult to fully engage in prayer and be consumed with pain.

Lastly, making a conscious decision to find, hunt and grope for a reason to be grateful in any situation is the key to possessing JOY because gratefulness demands intentional focus on goodness. More importantly, the vitality of thankfulness is the discipline it takes to acknowledge that God’s perspective is good, acceptable, and perfect; and is BEYOND anything human. This implies that we must decide to trust His perspective in order to get through times of unrest, annoying days and long butt-sucking weeks. You know that this is accomplished when your countenance reflects the Lord’s intention towards you. You may just have to, like my Momma always said, “Notify your face!” The important thing to know is JOY Is accessible. It is a gift that may sometimes require obedience. You may have to fight for it, but it certainly belongs to you. Getchu some! Then notify your face.

I’m Tifiny and iambutNaked…


Tifiny Johnson