JOLT: Finding Joy in a Name
Until now you have asked for nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (John 16-24 CSB)
A jolt hits me, it tastes like caramel and dark chocolate, it has a touch of sweetness, it is my first cup of coffee every morning. It is a jolt to my system to be sure. It is a warmth in my soul that settles me and gets me going all at the same time. It is hot, it is creamy, it is joy. I read once upon rising you should drink 2 glasses of water to get your organs started. Not sure why they stopped in the first place, but I guess I could try it. But truly it is not what I needed for a jolt; I just need coffee. Coffee gives me my jolt. Coffee gets everything moving in the morning, I mean everything. Once I have settled in with my coffee I can get to my daily reading and devotions. I like to spend this time talking to God, thanking Him, reading about Him and preparing myself for the day with Him on my mind. This is my second jolt of the day. This is where I get to interact with God’s grace. God’s tremendous grace is also what gives me a jolt. Starting my day in this way, with God and coffee, is the only way I am able to find and keep pure joy as I move forward.
Now, don’t even think that my days are all rainbows and butterflies, full of all the colors of the spectrum, glowing with glitter and unicorns dancing around me. This is not what my joy entails. Joy is an emotion given to us by God who felt it was important enough to give a name. Once something has value, it is worth naming and joy is definitely worth naming. The Oxford dictionary defines joy as, “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”. It’s synonymous with jubilation, exuberance, and rapture. Joy is soul satisfying, an emotional wellbeing. Unlike happiness which is materialistic and a worldly pleasure, it is a life’s contentment. Joy is an emotion you can endure even when your days are not full of confetti. Joy encompasses your every thought, move, and desire on a regular basis.
JOLT and the study of joy in a woman’s life began because of my conversations while writing Grace and Strong Coffee. During the penning of this book, I was able to spend time chatting with women about God’s immense grace in their lives and realized that not only did most women not know what God’s grace is, or what it looks like, there was no way they were going to understand what it was like in their lives because they did not have joy in their life to be able to comprehend such grace. So, I began JOLT. God has placed it on my heart to help women of all types learn what it looks like to possess joy in their lives no matter what might be happening in their families, personal lives, health, job, or relationships.
So, let’s begin this new journey to find joy in everyday life. Philippians 4:11-13 gives us this encouragement, “I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” This is the secret to existing in joy no matter what situation comes to you in life. The Apostle Paul understood what it was like to be imprisoned, sick, without friends, down on his luck. He had endured so much, yet he was still capable of finding joy. In this scripture he shares with us that although he has had suffering and abundance, has been filled and hungry, his joy comes from Christ Jesus alone. In everything and in all the little things, we, too, are able to find joy when we seek God for that joy. The problem tends to be that we pursue every little thing we can before we even begin to think about going to Christ for the strength. We seek out clothes, shoes, purses, oh how we love to shop. I am embarrassed to admit how much this resembles my life. We strive for money in our job by being the first to the top, the one who is most in charge or able to answer the most questions. This only ends up making others consider themselves inferior and often does not get us the joy we are searching for anyway, it just makes us tired trying to be the best, do the best, and stay on top. We chase cars and boats and trailers that are bigger than our neighbors. We rummage around for the best vacations so that we can brag about where we have been and can post pictures on Facebook. We invest all our time and energy into all these things hoping, even praying, that this is what will finally bring us joy. In the end, though, we go home to empty houses because our spouse didn’t like how much time we were at work. We don’t get phone calls from our grown children because the only way we showed them love was through gifts and not through true, unconditional love, so they don’t believe it's important to reach out. We find ourselves sitting at home and not using the boat or trailer because we are too busy with work or we can’t afford to utilize these “had to have” items because the cost of gas is too high or we simply don't have the energy.
In the end, none of it works. None of the things we invest in, time, clothes, stuff, are ever going to bring us joy. We will either begin to work harder and be away more in order to afford these things or we will eventually lose it all because we can’t afford it or can’t keep up with the façade. That’s all these things are. Fake! Unnatural! Counterfeit! Simulated! They will never fill your heart or give you a “feeling of great pleasure and happiness”. We need more. So much more and He is out there waiting for us to make the decision to move forward.
Here is the tough part. Being full of joy is not easy. It won’t fall upon your head like cookie sprinkles just because you formulate a decision to follow Christ. There are clear steps you need to grasp and begin to work toward. To begin with, you need to make a decision. Do you truly yearn for joy or are you simply happy and content being like everyone else who puts on the mask and suppresses their true heartbreaking feelings? You have to make a decision to change and change requires real intentionality. You are not able to just think it will happen and not do anything to make it happen. The great thing, though is this, “Until now you have asked for nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (John 16-24 CSB) This is Christ speaking. He is letting the people know that through Him, He is able to take their petitions to God so that they can encounter the joy they are seeking. What He wants us to do is to make the decision to have joy and to request it through Him. Basically, for you and I we have to decide we want joy and we have to make a change. What are you really willing to do to partake in deep joy? Think about it this way, “When one is thirsty one quenches one’s thirst by drinking, not by reading books which treat of this condition.” You are not going to get joy simply by reading a book about joy and listening to a pod-cast. You are going to get joy by living a Christ like life. You are going to receive joy by asking Christ to come into your life and to make you whole. You are going to obtain joy by following Christ and living for Him. This is the answer to finding joy. The jolt you need is Christ. That is the real name you are looking for when you are trying to find joy. Christ is your jolt. Christ is the only jolt you need. If you truly are searching for joy in your life, you must give it a name, which then gives it value. Just as you were named, which gives your life meaning, you must name to yourself and to Christ that you want joy. This is your first step. This is where it starts. Joy starts with Christ. The next steps will come, but it is essential that you take the first step and cry out for joy.
Christ is not fake, unnatural, counterfeit, simulated. Christ will not bring you false hope, false joy. God promises us that “Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning.” (Psalm 30-5 CSB). He promises us to bring us the joy we are so desperately seeking when we give our life to him. There is a decision to make here. A life changing decision. A pronouncement that will bring the joy you are on a quest for. Today is the day to get your jolt. The jolt that will move you toward a changed life. The jolt of joy that you will feel in your soul.
What does the jolt of joy look like in your life?
*** Each JOLT blog will end with a question for you to contemplate and respond to. If you want to share your thoughts with others and respond to peoples’ insights, please scroll down to the comment box and leave a message.
 Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence, book 1, chapter 1, section 4, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, accessed November 8, 2023, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/decaussade/abandonment.ii_1.i.i.iv.html.