Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day 17 - Make Your Own Joy

It happened every year. A group of friends celebrated each other’s birthdays by going out to lunch together. When it came to one friend’s birthday, she always brought gifts for everyone at the lunch, whether it was two or ten of us. These gifts were personal and almost always had our names written in fancy handwriting on them. They were well thought out gifts, not just thrown together. She decorated gift bags and inside there would be a handmade note card, bookmark or ribbon with a hand picked Bible verse beautifully printed on it. There might be something fun like a magnet, plastic sunglasses, tea-party type fans or a candle. Always there was a note telling us we were loved, thought of, prayed for and cheering us on as women, wives and mothers.

             We could tell she spent days planning and putting together the personal touches. She was giddy with joy as she passed out each gift. The rest of us were always surprised. It was a little bit embarrassing. She didn’t have to do that. It was her birthday after all. We should have brought her a gift. The rest of us viewed going out to lunch as the birthday gift, or we didn’t see the need to bring gifts. It was always very nice and made us feel special that she thought so much about us.

Why did she do it?

I think her love language must have been receiving gifts, therefore she showed love to others by giving gifts. Also, and I am just guessing here, she came from a family with all men, who typically did not give gifts, certainly not handmade, personalized, sentimental gifts. She never complained about them, nor did she ever say she missed not receiving gifts. But what she did was inspiring.

She made her own joy!

         She had as much fun giving the gifts and watching our expressions opening them as she would  had she received the gifts. It was an amazing act of love and kindness on her part, but it also brought her much joy.

         It was a huge lesson to me. Why wait for something fun, special or encouraging to happen to us, when we can make our own joy? We can give gifts. We can plan our own party. We can arrange a fun group activity with friends. I have another friend who lives miles away from her extended family. She invites whoever wants to join her for a big Thanksgiving dinner. She cooks everything, sets a beautiful table and always has people from different walks of life join her. The people who are invited are usually single or otherwise alone on Thanksgiving Day. They appreciate being included around her table and she receives joy from serving and feeding a houseful of people.

         I want to encourage you. If you have not had much joy lately, brainstorm what would make you happy at this season of your life. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be with the exact people you want to be around. Open yourself up to new people and experiences and see if making your own joy and bringing joy to others allows you to live the abundant life God has for you.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace
because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope
through the power of the Holy Spirit.     Romans 15:13

  (This is part of a 31 day writing challenge, to write on the same topic everyday in October. This series is Joy in the Journey. To read others in this series, click here.)



  1. Excellent advice! We are the party, the celebrators of joy.

  2. What a great idea. Spread joy. Who doesn't need a little more joy in their life. Trying to think how I can do this. :)

  3. I love this idea; cool graphic, too! I'd love someone to pick a scripture verse for me... what a gift. I'm parked beside you in #19; my Porch Story's also day 17 of #Write31Days: Sorrow.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and I will check your series out too!

  4. This is one of my favorite posts of this series! I love giving gifts too. It brings me joy when I surprise and find something exactly right for the recipient. Happy Writing!