I’ve been on a Joy kick this past week for a variety of reasons. I’ve been researching some personality testing that I think might actually be helpful in my practice and as I explored some of the material, I noted how some personalities really struggle with joy. It was at that moment that I remembered Ortberg’s book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted. He describes joy as a spiritual discipline. I have been so impressed with his writing over the years. What he wrote about would still be considered cutting edge today and he wrote it some fifteen years ago!
I just want to take a moment to highlight some of what he mentions concerning joy:
- Lewis Smedes- “To miss out on joy is to miss out on the meaning of life”
- “…for the joy of the Lord will be our strength” (Nehemiah)
- Dallas Willard-“failure to attain a deeply satisfying life always has the effect of making sinful actions seem good.”
- Ortberg “You can become a joyful person….But joyfulness is a learned skill….your joy is your responsibility.”
- “This is the day the lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Ortberg stresses that we must begin now, as your reading this blog. This very moment. You can’t wait for tomorrow because it will always be one day away from you. You can’t wait for situations to change, Ortberg mentions Karl Barth’s calling joy the “defiant nevertheless.” Joy does not depend upon circumstances but defiantly impacts us wherever we are at and begins with a move of the will.
As I continue to write the Neuroscience of Sanctification and Faith series, I cannot help but think of the link between joy and our growth and connection with God–It is more than knowledge it is an experience! Joy is one of those essential components that neurologically and spiritually touch more than our analytical brains.
Ortberg, J. (2002). The Life You’ve Always Wanted (pp. 127-8). Zondervan.