Monday, May 11, 2015

Is There Joy In It?

By Niki Turner

I spent most of the day with my future daughter-in-law, her sweet momma, and my own daughter and granddaughter, watching DIL-to-be try on wedding gowns. (I cannot even express how grateful I am that my son is marrying into a family I genuinely LIKE... what a blessing!) 

I never really believed that whole "it's the right dress when your face lights up" thing until today. We were on the third store and the 20th (?) dress when I saw it. Her expression changed. Suddenly she wasn't smiling because there was a camera trained on her and it was expected, she was smiling from the inside out. That dress was different. It was THE dress.

It reminded me of the power of joy, and this verse: The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Neh 8:10)

I believe we can interpret this verse in this way: where you find your joy, you also find your strength. I think the opposite is also true: where you have no joy, you are weak.

I believe all of God's gifts/talents, when put to use, are joy generators.

Observe any writer, photographer, artist or musician, teacher, engineer, designer, or carpenter who hasn't been applying him/herself to their gift for awhile... it's like watching a car run out of gas in slow motion. The same is true when our motives for using our gifts/talents get twisted. 

And yet how many of us have found ourselves pushed out of our place of joy and into a place of weakness for the sake of money, success, convention, conformity, expectation, obligation... fill in the blank?

Lately I've been searching for that spark, that place of joy, in everything I do, from my "real" job to housework to writing. I figure if I can operate in that sweet spot of joy, I'll be more efficient and produce better results, because I'll be functioning from a place of strength instead of weakness. 

Finding that place is not always easy. For me, finding a sweet spot in housework means listening to an audiobook, and audiobooks are expensive! For you it might mean hiring a housekeeper. Finding that place of joy in my "real job" right now means focusing on learning and improving my skills and abilities, which takes time and makes my brain tired. For me, finding that spot in writing means dropping all the expectations and requirements and just writing. If what comes out fits a publisher, that's great. If not, there's always indie publishing. What really matters is if there's joy in the process, because if I lose the joy, what's the point? I'm like a bride in the wrong dress... all the trappings are there, but the joy is missing. 

It's not about the money, it's not about the prestige, it's not about how other people perceive what you've done, it's about finding the joy—the strength—in all that you do.

What's your sweet spot? Do you give it the attention it deserves? Have you ever gotten sidetracked from your source of joy? How did you find your way back?


  1. Wonderful post, Niki. I think at times I get so worked up and joyless I can't remember what my sweet spot is. Thanks for the reminder. Your posts are always so encouraging to me.

    1. Thank you for saying so, Susie. That blesses me!

  2. What a great post. Spot on!

    My sweet spot in any endeavor is to have enough time to not feel rushed. But when do I ever get that? ;)

    P. S. I'd LOVE to see that dress!

    1. Thanks, DeAnna! Yes, I concur... in fact, after this weekend, I woke up behind on Monday morning and have had to reread my own post before I got discouraged by the piles of animal fur on my floor and the overflowing waste baskets!

      (I'll see if I can email all the Inkies the pic... gotta keep it secret!)

  3. Excellent post!!! I lost my joy of writng for a while, but I'm well on my way to finding it again. Thank goodness!


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