What Does Joy Sound Like?

Do you ever feel like you never quite accomplish what you set out to do in a day? Not that you feel like a total slug, but there’s just something missing from the pattern so there’s a gap where achievement belongs.I’m a list maker – and because I’m not unique in that capacity, my guess is that some of you are too. I used to do a few tasks, then sneak them onto my list, just so I could have the satisfaction of crossing them off. Come on – tell my you haven’t ever done that.

Lately though, I want to give up on my lists. I know. Right? How can that even be possible? It has nothing to do with lack of additions to it. Confession time. My lists have lists now and that makes me feel like a failure. My friend, Kim and I have been starting each year with a booklet of daily, weekly, and periodic goals which we use to hold each other accountable. Supportive encouragement based on spiritual insights. That kind of accountable.

Sometimes my page looks like Swiss Cheese because I keep up, checking off one thing after another, just like I intended. I feel pretty good. But all those ‘pretty good atta boys’ fade when accomplishments are few and that page begins to look like a deep, empty well pit. It’s easy to tape a label to my forehead FAILURE. This is where an accountability partner is priceless. Kim will ask what God says about my pattern. Does it look like what he envisioned? Or is it messed up because of my own ideas and not enough of His?

On days like this, I’m glad God doesn’t have mood swings. In fact, no matter how many times I get distracted, accomplish nothing on my own list of intentions, and do life my own way, God just says, ““I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Every morning (well, almost every morning) I start my day with God. I am just as vocal about telling Him what I don’t want as I am asking for what I do. There’s nothing like getting a clear, prayerful understanding. Open heart, open opportunity. Time with the Lord is a gift from Him to me. It’s opportunity to adjust my attitude before the day comes rolling in at full throttle. Mindset – Be thankful. Attitude – Choose Joy. Plans – In writing (pencil, not ink)

God sings over you with joyThen life happens. What I intended this day to look like, the pattern I used, bears no resemblance to the finished product.

At the end of the day I wonder what would he say if I asked, “God did I meet all your expectations today?” You know what? I think God would cut me some slack. I think he would remind me that he doesn’t love me any less if I didn’t check off the little boxes on my list. God gives us a pattern to follow that has no little boxes. His pattern is relationships, attitudes, kindness, forgiveness, helpfulness, listening. Those are things that don’t fit on a checklist.

What are your thoughts? Last year as I was contemplating my assumed lack of progress, I somehow came across this verse that has become one of my favorites.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty warrior who saves. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

You see, you can work hard or coast; make the most of every moment or waste minutes. God delights in you with gladness. God rejoices over you with joyful songs. Anyone who sings over you, is not holding a grudge, is not angry, is not waiting to catch you off guard and pour on the guilt. He rejoices over you with joyful songs – no strings attached.

God wants obedience and doesn’t want you to give up. He wants you to know you can start over right now. God wants what’s best for you and that is believing him, trusting him, and loving him back because he loved you first. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He expects us to stay faithful and not give up. He is a God of new beginnings.

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Jude 1:2


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
JANE’s professional experience is scattered across industries from financial services and insurance to engineering and manufacturing. Jane sees her background in writing and editing website content as the foundation to her current love of social media. Being an avid reader, meticulous note taker and lifelong learner has fostered her natural pursuit of sharing her world through writing. Reading books and summarizing content started as a hobby and has since grown to be a major part of her vocational experience. Jane says, “Authors pour their heart and soul into writing their book. When I write a review, it’s with intent to celebrate the book and promote the author.” Jane claims to be 'the best follower you'll ever want to meet' and has been repeatedly called servant leader, eternal cheerleader, social media evangelist, and inspirational go-to person. Jane is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.

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  1. Perhaps there is no more desirable experience than that of joy. We all aspire to it, obstinately, having already lived it, even only in a fleeting way. The lover in the presence of the beloved being, the player in the moment of victory, the artist in front of his work, the researcher when he comes to the discovery, everyone feels a deeper emotion of pleasure, more concrete of happiness, an emotion which involves the whole being and which becomes, with its thousand facets, the greatest good that one could wish for. Joy brings within itself a power that destabilizes us, invades us, makes us taste fullness. Nothing makes us more alive than the experience of joy. We can not decide to be happy, but we can learn to cultivate this joy.

    • Thank you for sharing your wise perspective Aldo. We often think that because we aren’t happy about our circumstances or we are sad because things didn’t work out, that has to robbusvof joy too. Feelings like happy or sad depend on the external, but joy is an inside job. To me, joy has a direct line to hope. If I don’t let things rob me of joy, they can’t steal my joy either. I appreciate you for taking time to read and offer your contribution as well.