Joy is a signal

Joy signals our callingsYou know that feeling? When you’re involved in something and you’re just overwhelmed with joy? That thought of, “It couldn’t get any better than this!”? When those feelings are so big you can hardly contain them and you just want to burst with happiness? Have you ever had that happen?

If you have, it’s an experience you should review. The funny thing about joy is that we often pay less attention to it than we do to pain. In our moments of happiness we tend to analyze less and simply enjoy life. We don’t rack our brains for all the reasons we experience joy, we just feel grateful. We don’t pick at joy the way we pick at a hangnail. If you’re like most humans, you spend much more time focused on the negative than the positive. But joy is a big signal of our identity – of who God created us to be.

Merriam-Webster defines joy as:

  • a feeling of great happiness
  • success in doing, finding, or getting something
  • the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight
  • the expression or exhibition of such emotion: gaiety
  • a state of happiness or felicity: bliss

Joy signals us in our callings just as much as pain or restlessness can. Those moments when we feel so alive are telling us who we are, what we care about, what we value most and we should pay attention because it’s likely that something about those experiences is part of our callings. I believe joy is a core component of our callings. If you feel like you haven’t found your calling, looking for where you experience the most joy is part of the discernment process.

There’s a great exercise that basically asks you to remember moments of joy you’ve had in your life and then dissect them a little bit to understand the pattern in them.

Maybe you’ve met one of those rare people who just love their work. They get up every day excited to start. I’ve even heard people say they feel like they’re not working at all (which doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard but that they don’t consider their work drudgery). These people have tapped into the joy in their callings and their enthusiasm is infectious.

Where do you find your joy?