A God-Given Name

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”  Proverbs 17 vs. 22

My name is Joy, meaning ‘jubilation’, joyful one’, ‘happiness’, ‘delight’.  I was the third child born in my family, and the first and only girl. My mother told the story of my birth occuring a few days before Christmas… a snowy morning with icy streets, the rush to the hospital, a police escort. She delivered before her doctor could get to the hospital.   Arriving moments after my birth, he bent over her and asked, “What did you have?”  Retelling the event years later, Mom said,  “Imagine my delight to tell him, “A girl!”

Today, I could say without hesitation that I am ‘joyful’, but that has only been true for the past 10 years. Every little mishap that occurred, every misfortune, every time I dropped something, bumped my elbow, stubbed my toe, accidentally pricked my finger with a needle, or had somebody cut me off in traffic, I took it personally, as if the world was out to get me. I was not a happy camper, nor joyful. It seemed as if bad things kept happening to me on purpose–or maybe it was just that I was over re-acting to the little frustrations in life? I sure didn’t feel joyful, and life didn’t seem to be something to celebrate, especially since all these ‘bad things’ happened to me so often.

I stopped one day, said a silent, simple prayer, and quietly asked God to help me live up to my name.  When my mother named me, she was ‘over-joyed’…surely I could honor her choice by trying to be happier–surely I could honor God! I decided not to take mishaps seriously or personally. If I dropped something and it broke, oh well… I decided to laugh it off. I like seeing the humor in things, in life. Life is too short to get worked up over little, insignificant mishaps. I like to laugh at myself, especially when I make a mistake. The person I want to laugh at the most is myself

I have found that speaking kindly to others reaps double rewards… my spirits and countenance are lifted also.  I want to notice and appreciate the beauty and good things in life.  I want to say kind things to others, to compliment them, to lift them up, to laugh with them. You never know how long it has been since someone has heard a postive word, it may be just what they needed that day. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”  Proverbs 16:24



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