Healthy decisions bring a healthy life, but getting to these healthy decisions can feel like…
God’s Word is power packed with promises of joy. In their new devotional: Growing a Joyful Heart by Karen Whiting and Pam Farrel (AMG), readers are invited to cultivate and delight in God’s gift of joy.
We are commanded to “rejoice in the Lord always…” (Phil 4:4)
The word joy or rejoice in most of the New Testament is the Greek word chairo, which is a verb, an action, that appears seventy-four times in the New Testament. Its meaning is broad and beautiful including:
- To rejoice
- To be glad
- To rejoice exceedingly
- To be well or well off
- To thrive
- To be cheerful
- To be happy
- To express calm delight
- To be favorably disposed to grace or to lean into grace
- To make joyful
- To extend favor
Chairo was also a greeting or salutation—for example,” Joy be with you” or “I welcome you with joy.” (Seems like the world would be a better place if we greeted one another with more joy!)
Joy is Beneficial
The bible clearly teaches that “…a joyful heart is good medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)
Scientific research echoes God’s truth by revealing numerous benefits associated with cultivating joy, including:
- Improving heart health, reducing blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Producing a state of calm by lowering stress and cortisol levels, counteracting the harmful effects of stress.
- Enhancing sleep quality.
- Boosting immunity and lowering pain by releasing natural pain-relieving endorphins.
- Lengthening life and enhancing overall quality of life.
- Enhancing problem-solving skills, fostering creativity, flexibility and increasing productivity
- Improving decision-making based on positive emotions and long-term benefits.
- Enhancing relationships, strengthening connections, and fostering deeper bonds.
- Adding resilience, enabling us to bounce back from setbacks and challenges.
- Quickening recovery and healing time and faster recuperation
- Expanding desires for healthy habits, motivating exercise, healthy eating, and self-care.
- Raising opportunities for success, attracting positive prospects and personal growth.
The Joy Deficit
Before Covid, 83 percent of all Americans expressed that stress was robbing their happiness, and 72 percent of women said stress negatively affected their joy. According to TIME magazine’s The Science of Happiness special edition, only 55 percent surveyed claimed they were happy. Enter a global pandemic, and depression escalated, and the public’s happiness plunged to a five-decade low. According to University of Chicago News, only 14 percent of people surveyed expressed that they were very happy.
However, there is good news! Happiness is made of from 50% DNA, 10% circumstances, and 40% choices we make!
This could be part of the reason the prophet Nehemiah directed Israel to:
“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10 NIV)
Strength in Hebrew in this context means a place of safety, security, a fortress, and refuge. We can choose joy then a host of benefits roll out to bless and build our lives.
Boost Your Joy
What are some of these wise choices that help cultivate joy?
Express gratitude: Acknowledge and appreciate blessings in your life, big and small.
Engage in exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins, promoting well-being and joy.
Spend time in nature: Connect with the natural world for immense joy and tranquility.
Practice mindfulness: Be present, savoring the simple joys of life.
Nurture relationships: Spend quality time with loved ones, creating meaningful connections.
Seek laughter and humor: Enjoy jokes, funny movies, or comedy for joyful experiences.
Smile: Spread joy wherever you go with a genuine smile.
Engage in joyful activities: Pursue hobbies, dance, sing, paint—do what brings you joy.
Cultivate a positive mindset: Focus on the good and see challenges as growth opportunities.
Surround yourself with lifegiving people: Weave time into your schedule with inspiring individuals who uplift and encourage you.
Engage in acts of kindness: Giving brings immense joy to both giver and receiver.
Care for yourself as much as God cares for you: Take breaks, recharge, and replenish your gladness reserves.
We can be encouraged knowing that God knows and can direct you to your personal path to joy:
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
Choose Joy Today
In each daily devotional in Growing a Joyful Heart, the authors include a practical action to enhance and enrich more joy into the readers’ lives. By incorporating these practices into your daily life, you can invite more joy, contentment, and fulfillment into your life’s journey, and you will also sow seeds of joy into the lives of those who cross your path.
Download free creative ebook: Infectious Joy
Download: Delightful Distractions Worksheet
Pam Farrel is a popular speaker and award-winning author of 59 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. She and her husband, Bill, co-direct Love-Wise and make their home on a liveaboard boat docked in Southern California www.Love-Wise.com