Hollison Journey

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams Jr

Fruits of the Spirit: Joy

on August 1, 2008

This week in WOW we tackled the second listed fruit of the spirit: joy! I think it went well. the girls consistently amaze me with their insights and this week I got the pleasure of watching their brains come to some understanding.

I did something a little different this week. Knowing how most girls love quotes, I found different quotes and verses about joy. I wrote each of them on a small posterboard and then paired up a verse and a quote to go with a question I posed the girls. I would ask the question, reveal the quote and verse associated, and then we would discuss. Hopefully, each segment built.

I know you’re dying to see what questions and what verse/quote pairings, so here we go: (note: i jotted down ideas, not a script…I may not have exactly said these words)

What is joy? How do we know it? Where does it come from?

  • V: The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
  • Q: Joy is a result of a heart that is overflowing with love. Sister Olga Yaqob

Is joy the same as happiness?

  • V: A joyful heart is the health of the body but a depressed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
  • Q: Joy is more than happiness, just as happiness is more than pleasure. Pleasure is in the body. Happiness is in the mind and feelings. Joy is deep in the heart, the spirit, the center of the self. Peter Kreeft

How do we increase our joy?

  • V: Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of (your) faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9
  • Q: Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile and sometimes your smile is the source of your joy. Thich Naht Hahn

Why express it? How do we express it?

  • V: Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Matthew 5:12
  • Q: Such is human psychology that if we don’t express our joy, we soon cease to feel it. Lin Yutan

We also discussed having joy and suffering, which provided a great opportunity to talk about (Blessed) Mother Theresa of Calcutta. This is a woman who for her whole life has been seen as a holy woman, filled with joy and love. She has said that joy is a net with which to catch souls and that joy is everywhere because Christ is everywhere. Yet after her death, we come to know that she suffered for more than 50 years with the “dark night of the soul,” she did not feel God’s presence in her life and suffered every day. Her personal writings include passages such as:

“In the darkness… Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me?.. I call, I cling, I want, and there is no one to answer… Where I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul… I am told God lives in me and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”

and later in life, in another letter to her spiritual advisor:

They say people in hell suffer eternal pain because of the loss of God… In my soul I feel just this terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing. That terrible longing keeps growing, and I feel as if something will break in me one day.”

All this from a woman the world knew as a joyful person, a living saint.

Mother Theresa said that joy was hard work. To help us remember that joy inside of us even in moments of suffering, we closed the night by writing lists of things that remind us of our joy and things we can do to remind others of joy.


2 responses to “Fruits of the Spirit: Joy

  1. Amanda says:

    My favorite joy quote:

    “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us.” -Henri J.M. Nouwen

    Thank you again for the books. I started reading through the cookbook, and I love it! It’s fascinating and will be such a great resource for the books. Thank you!!!

  2. […] then last year, I taught a WOW session on Joy and stumbled upon the recent publication of letters by Mother Teresa where she explains her […]

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