Joy is a choice and you can choose to live in it. Let us draw strength from these great lines penned down by Richelle E. Goodrich “The world seems to want us to be sad and angry because bad things frequently happen. But I say we should feel the opposite. We should be happy and cheerful because good things happen. We should be delighted to see the sun rise and stars glow and rainbows color stormy skies. We should savor every simple breath and eat each meal with gratitude. We should slumber in sweet dreams and relish moments of laughter and love. We should take more notice of the joys and kindnesses that do exist, still dictating actions of millions of good people all over the world. Life is filled with pleasant moments, not just grief. We should be happy because this is true.”

Secrets Of Making Joy a Habitual Lifestyle (Continuation From Last Week)

Last week we started a discussion on how we could be constantly joyous. We also shared two of the secrets of how we can make joy a habitual lifestyle. This is the concluding part.

(3) Gather information on how to be joyous. The most fertile ground of joylessness is ignorance. God created you to inhabit joy, to savor it. Therefore, refuse to be conquered by the forces of sadness and despair. God laments that His people are enslaved and destroyed for lack of knowledge. In Hosea 4:6 He says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” God forbids this for us. But the truth is that knowledge of joy is the permanent solution to captivity by sadness. There is much information on joy, in the Bible, on the Net, in books, and all over the place. Go for it.

(4) Regularly engage in meditation on the knowledge you gather. Let me share a deep truth about meditation that will be very useful to you. For food to be useful to our bodies, it must go through the processes of ingestion, digestion, absorption, and assimilation.

Ingestion involves the taking in of food through the mouth, etc. Digestion involves the breaking down of complex food substances into simpler and tinier food particles through mechanical processes of chewing, grinding, churning, mixing with saliva, and chemical processes (such as the actions of enzymes) so that they can be easily absorbed by the cell. Absorption is the uptake of fluids and other food substances by the tissues of the body. This is the process by which the digested food enters the blood stream. Assimilation is the utilization of the absorbed food substances by the cells to generate energy which the body uses.

In the same way, information or knowledge, which is like raw food intake, can only be useful to us after we break it down into “simpler and tinier knowledge particles” through meditation. Meditation, deep thinking on something, is the mental chewing, emotional grinding, and mixing of that information into a finer form that can be absorbed and assimilated by our spirit, the real person in us. Psalm 39:3 is proof that meditation changes knowledge into a form that supplies us spiritual energy. This is how Bible in Basic English puts it, “My heart was burning in my breast; while I was deep in thought (i.e. meditating) the fire was lighted; then I said with my tongue.” When you mediate on joy, for instance, your spirit will be able to absorb and assimilate the “finer, simpler particles of the knowledge of joy”. This will culminate in the ignition of fire in your spirit that will equip you with power to constantly feel joy.

(5) Focus on your vision or dream: Concentration is a great secret of strength. When you lose focus in life you notice all kinds of distracting elements; when you focus on your dreams you don’t see those disrupting influences. When disappointing experiences tend to make you sad, fix your eyes on your ultimate vision.

Vision is joy generator. When you imagine all that you stand to gain at the realization of your vision, you can’t but be glad. Your vision is the joy set before you; it empowers you to face challenges with courage and hope. For the joy that was set before Jesus, (that is, salvation of mankind and His eventual enthronement), He endured the cross and despised every shame. This is recorded in Hebrews 12:2.

(6) Share love (good deeds) with others: If you really want to be consistently thrilled, do good to people out of a heart of love. Not only will it make you elated, it will also enlarge your joy. This great thought by Robert Murray McCheyne is good food for thought: “Joy is increased by spreading it to others.” Whenever you give a person a gift, a helping hand in cash or kind, a word of comfort, an encouragement to start or enlarge a business, some mentoring, or any good deed at all, you plant a seed of joy in that person. Every seed planted multiples. A corn seed sowed in every good ground multiples into hundreds of corn seeds at harvest. Some people are bad grounds; they’ll never appreciate you for whatever good you do to them. If they have chance, they’ll reward you with evil. Let that not discourage you to continue to do good and spread joy.

(7) Habitually take relevant action. Nathaniel Branden says that, "The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. The third step is action." Action attacks fear and sadness. The path to constant joy is deliberate massive action on your goals. If you change your actions your thoughts will follow because your actions are faster and easier to change than thoughts.

Dr. Noam Shpancer wrote an online article entitled, Action Creates Emotion, and showed that research in clinical psychology proved that “the faster way to change an emotion is to change the behavior attached to it.” He also related that depression, for instance, was a result of inactivity. For example, after a number of failures and disappointments, people stopped trying and withdrew from the world. Withdrawal and inactivity would then decrease positive interactions, and therefore, increase inaction until it would result in depression.

Therefore, Dr. Shpancer advises that rather than respond to unpleasant experiences with sadness and withdrawal, we should react to failure by learning to act more skillfully and purposefully so as to reintroduce positive reinforcements into our life.

John Maxwell says that “Events are less important than our responses to them.” Stephen Covey puts the same thought this way, “It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.”