Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snowless Snow Day and Other Good Stuff

We have very little snow left, but we are out of school because treacherous road conditions remain in the higher elevations around us. We call this phenomenon the "Snowless Snow Day". DD#2 is expressing tentative desires to go back to school.
Back to routine.
Back to...anywhere except our house, where we've been for days now.

Big Red is down for the count with a vicious sinus infection. No flu, but he's still not allowed to breath on us for 24 hours.

I'm watching another amazing sunrise. I gave up on sleeping in after the first couple of days out of school. It was just too weird.

Today is shaping up to be quasi-normal, but we are all a bit restless.

So... what do you do when your heart is restless?

Clean your closet? Bake something? Eat something?

Lately I've been studying the difference between the words "happy" and "joy" in the Bible. It's been eye-opening and fascinating.

The word most often translated "happy" means "to make level, to go, to lead, to relieve".

Doesn't that make sense? How often do we just want life to be level, always moving forward, to be relieved of our burdens or questions? Think of how we hear the word "happy" used:

" I want out of this marriage. I have a right to be happy." Level, going forward, relieved.
" I don't care what lifestyle choices my kids make. I just want them to be happy." Going forward, no pressure, everything level and easy for them.

On the other hand, joy means something profoundly different.

Are you ready for this?

It means joy.

As in gladness, cheer, delight, triumph, mirth (or as we would say in the South, "getting tickled".)

I wonder if we've over-complicated, over-spiritualized joy. We want it somehow to be so far above us that we have an excuse to not be joyful if we don't feel like it. Yet, it is really quite simple: a person with the Holy Spirit present and active in her will have joy.



Plain ole' laughter.

Even when the ground isn't level.

Even when we're stuck and not going forward.

Even when our fears and burdens haven't been relieved.

Know anybody who has the joy of the Lord? I do. I'm thinking of a friend who is quite a bit younger than I, but her family has traversed many seasons of pain. They have lived through a lot of junk.

But if I really want to laugh, if I really need somebody to get the joke with me, she's the woman.

I look for excuses to work with her because she's just so much fun.

She's sown a lot of tears, but she's reaped a lot of joy.

Maybe today, if you're feeling restless like I am, we need to ask the Father for a dose of joy. Today, maybe we just need to laugh more, take ourselves a little less seriously, thank God a little more often, and say yes to a smile or a joke or a kind word instead of letting the little stuff eat our lunch.

I'm not advocating a Pollyanna rendition of "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Life is hard. I know this.

I am convicted, though, about how many of my happy, level, normal days are not particularly joyful days. My home, health, and job are going fine, but I'm still grumpy, short-tempered, and dissatisfied.

The Proverbs 31 woman can "laugh at the days to come." Why? Because she really understands that the joy of the Lord is her strength. It's her secret weapon against fear, to remember Who is enthroned over not only her life, but also the whole earth.

That's something to be glad, triumphant, and downright mirthful about.



  1. Interesting. Really gives me something to think about. Didn't realize there was such a difference between happy and joy. I love it!! Think I'll ponder this one for awhile.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is the day the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!!

    I love that verse from the Psalms and it encourages me to start my day that way...

  3. I listed to James MacDonald share the difference between Joy and Happiness in the teaching entitled "Why Trials (Part 1)" - the link is here if you're interested: