Yesterday my friend Jeanie and I were traveling back home from a business conference. While waiting for our connecting flight in O’Hare, we stopped at a Starbuck’s stand for a little “pick-me-up” coffee and dessert. I must preface this story before I go any further. When Jeanie and I travel together, we never lack for conversation, and we always seem to have a great time together, despite any circumstances that may arise while we travel. As we sometimes do, we weren’t really paying much attention to anything around us–we were busily talking and appreciating that we found the Starbuck’s stand! As we approached the counter to order, discussing what we were going to consume in the next few moments, the girl behind the counter said something to us that stopped us mid-sentence…
She said, “Wow, you’re happy!” I looked at Jeanie and Jeanie looked at me. We both, almost simultaneously said, “We are?” She said, “Yes!” A thousand thoughts ran through my mind at that moment–“What were Jeanie and I just talking about?” “What am I happy about?” “How does she know we’re happy?” “Who is this girl?” “Do we look that happy?” Both of us really didn’t know how to respond in the next few silent seconds until Jeanie answered with, “Well, we are!” And I responded, “We’ll try to make your day a little happier too!”
The girl behind the counter, probably in her early to mid-20’s, then took our coffee and dessert order, with a little more small talk, and then we were on our way to find out gate for our flight. This interraction with this girl has ran through my mind over and over ever since. This happened over 24 hours ago as I’m writing this. First of all, I’m impressed that this young girl even payed attention to her customers’ attitudes and actions. Sometimes that is lacking in customer service these days! The next thing impressed with is that not only did she notice, but she commented on our attitudes! The thing I’m continuing to question though, is how Jeanie and I were appearing to the people we were meeting. We were dressed professionally, we were enjoying each other’s company and our conversation–so we must have been smiling, and I know we were excited that we found a Starbuck’s! But did those things really show that we were happy?
I believe it is something more. Jeanie and I sat on the plane next to each other on the final leg of our trip, after this experience. We talked about that fact that we both feel we are filled with true joy, a joy that we really can’t describe, and it’s possible, a joy that we’ve really never had before. It’s the kind of true joy that fills you up on the inside and then is displayed on the outside. I also believe there’s a difference between true joy and being happy. We may not always “feel” happy, but we can always have joy…if we choose to. We can fake being happy, but one cannot fake having a deep-down true joy.
So, how can one find true joy? In looking a little further on that today, scripture is full of the word joy. If you do a search for the word joy, you’ll find many scriptures that contain that word. I will share two here that particularly stuck out to me. One is 1 Peter 1:8–
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls (NIV).”
The other is Galatians 5:22–
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
To make this a little more clear, to find true joy, God’s Word says we must love Jesus and believe in Him, even though we can’t see Him, and in doing so, we’ll receive true and lasting joy. In another post, I’ll address the connection of joy and contentment, but for now, this is the most important thing we can do to have joy.
Were Jeanie and I trying to show we were happy and joyful? No…we weren’t even paying any attention to anything but our coffee and dessert. I’m humbled that someone noticed our “happiness” and joy, and I certainly would never want to come across here as if I was bragging. That’s not my intention. I just want each of us to be filled with true joy…joy that can only come from loving God, loving Jesus and believing in Him. Will you make that commitment today? I pray that joy will overflow out of you as you live a life that honors God today!
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