Sunshine & Joy

As February comes to an end, you might find that you are craving sunshine on a deep level. If you are anywhere close to Cincinnati, you might be just a little sick of all the cold, gross days we have been having. On top of the annoyance of dreary days, a lack of sunshine tends to lead to a lack in Vitamin D, which has been associated with higher levels of stress, depression, weight gain, and heart diseases.

Not only are we mentally done with the cold and the clouds, our bodies are starting to crave the warmth and sunshine of spring. And when we get it, our whole moods can lift, we feel more energized, happier, and ready to engage with life. We might even want to care for our bodies better, be around people we care about, maybe even clean our houses!

The same way our bodies, minds, and even emotions crave sunshine, our souls crave joy. Without laughter, without joy, without fun, it’s like we are living in an endless dreary winter (always winter and never Christmas, for you C.S. Lewis fans). We can survive, sure, but it just feels like surviving. We can still go to work, still eat food, still sleep, still hang out with people, still do almost everything. But without joy, we feel a deep lack.

Joy is the sunshine of emotions. It radiates through people and out of people. It lifts our spirits and adds energy to everything we are doing. It provides perspective and makes us feel full. When we are filled with joy or have joyful moments, the world gets a little brighter and we feel lighter.

Joy can be experienced in a wide array of ways—sitting in your favorite chair, drinking a cup of coffee; laughing at a joke one of your friends made; listening to a little kid talk about their day; experiencing your dog’s extreme happiness whenever you return home; reading a book with words that fill your soul; listening to music that’s so good you can’t help but smile and tear up a little. Everyone find’s joy in different things, but we all experience joy.

It’s these small, or big, moments that change something inside of us. Sometimes, it might even feel like these bursts of joy show us what life should be, what Heaven might be like, what is possible for us to experience. Joy grounds us in a life that is beautiful and gives us hope for our future.

And what is wild about all of this is that God feels joy for you!

God delights over you, like a Father delights over His children, like the Sun loves the flower, like the Sea embracing the shore. God’s joy for you stretches beyond the Heavens. It is so vast that He sings over you.

Not only do you get to experience sunshine and joy, you are also the vessel that brings it: you bring sunshine into the world. You bring sunshine to God’s heart.