Being Full Of Joy In All Circumstances By Amy Leong
For the month of December, the theme of Kingdom Women Entrepreneurs is "Fullness of Joy" with the scripture focus being:
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11
Before we think about what “fullness of joy” means, let’s start with a basic understanding of what “joy” is.
What is “Joy”?
I’ve often heard people use “happiness” and “joy” interchangeably however, I think that there is a distinct difference.
“Happiness” is usually the result of an event or happening – for example:
“I was given a gift (event/happening) so I was happy (the result)”; or
“I went bike riding (event/happening) and I felt so happy (the result)”.
“Joy” on the other hand, is not dependent on our external circumstances. Rather, I’ve come to understand “joy” as being the fruit of understanding the character of God, knowing His goodness and His delight in us as His children.
From the Scriptures, we know the following about “joy”:
JOY is a byproduct of our time with the Lord: “But the fruits of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” – Galatians 5:22
JOY gives us strength: “The joy of the Lord is your strength” – Nehemiah 8:10
JOY brings healing: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
So if this is what “joy” is, what then is “fullness of joy”? How do we know when our joy is “full”?
Fullness of Joy
In episode 961 of his podcast, “Ask Pastor John”, theologian and pastor, John Piper said that: “We can be said to have fullness of joy in God if our joy in God is so full that it outweighs all other competing emotions and overflows in love to others.”
Dear friend, have you ever experienced this before?
There are four examples in my own life that come to mind.
The first was when I went on a mission trip to Vanuatu. Our team partnered with the local churches on the island we visited and while they did not have much and in many respects, could be seen to be lacking by the world’s standards, they were generous with their limited resources and served with joy in spite of the challenging circumstances they faced on a daily basis.
A second more personal example was when my husband and I experienced a tragic loss early in our marriage. Yes, there was grief and sorrow for a season, however, as I read the Scriptures daily as medicine for my soul, the joy of knowing God is in control would override the other emotions that would threaten to consume my mind. It is not that we deny our feelings, rather there is an overarching layer of joy and hope that remains when everything else is stripped away.
Thirdly, in my work, I started a new role in mid-March 2020, by week two I was working remotely from home and by week three I was told my hours and pay would be reduced due to the impact of COVID-19. Despite the uncertainty of it all, communing with the Lord, spending time in His presence would fill my heart with joy and give me strength as I tackled the daily challenges.
Finally, in business, the fullness of joy in the Lord carried me through some changes that I had to make on my entrepreneurial journey recently. Having been running my side business, Art by Ames (a creative studio created to bring hope and joy through modern calligraphy) for about 18 months, there was a shift in my spirit as I felt a tug to move in a slightly different direction. In September 2019, I had found myself on the brink of burnout and realised that the way I was doing life was not sustainable anymore and started to change my lifestyle to start looking my wellness from a holistic perspective. “Living life well” and sharing that with others was what later prompted me to start my podcast, “LIVE LIFE WELL: The Podcast” with a mission to empower the millennial generation to THRIVE and not just survive so that they can live a life full of PURPOSE, JOY and DELIGHT.
As I learnt to navigate the changes, the Lord brought another piece of the puzzle forward for me which was about taking a more active role in coaching others to take a holistic approach to their life and wellness. There was a lot of wrestling as I knew that in order to move forward in this direction, something had to give and I surrendered Art by Ames to the Lord for