*Five Minute Friday is an initiative set up by Lisa-Jo Baker over at Surprised by Motherhood. It has now been taken over by Kate over at Heading Home. The basic premise is to take the word Kate gives and write, non-stop for 5 minutes. Then you stop and post. Read more about it here. This October, I am taking part in a series based on this called “31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes”, in which we commit to writing from the prompt as usual, but everyday rather than just on a Friday. Read more here.
I laughed when I saw that this was the word for today. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this word seems to be following our family around at the moment.
It is a word that pours out of my daughter’s every pore as she giggles and plays and dances. A word people often use to describe her when they meet her.
It is a word that has been resonating strongly with me as I pray for the baby we are expecting in just a few weeks’ time. God placed this through Scripture on my heart early in this pregnancy:
“You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord… even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
It is a word that God keeps speaking over our family as a charism, a gift, a calling.
And it has made me come to realise just how different “joy” is to “happiness”. Yes, the two are linked. Often they flow together seamlessly.
But sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, just like “love” and “feelings” are two very different words, one is a choice, while the other is circumstantial. Just as we choose to love and that often leads back to feelings, choosing joy even when we don’t feel joyful can lead us back to happiness.
This word has come on a day I needed to hear it. My third trimester nausea has been strong. My daughter has had a difficult day filled with meltdowns over little things. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve been impatient. I’ve cried a little. I’ve shouted at God trying to be heard over my daughter’s cries. These days happen. They pass. All is well in the end. But in the moment, that can be hard to remember.
I needed to hear the conviction that comes in the word joy. Because today I have struggled to choose it. But as soon as I have, nothing has seemed quite as bad. The little things have not been the end of the world – they have been little. They have passed. The storms are short. The peace is long.
Sometimes choosing to be joyful when your body is void of happiness feels like a struggle. But it never fails to be a good choice. It only ever bears good fruit, for us and those around us.
I needed to hear this word today. Do you?