Proverbs 17:22 "A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones."
Joy is given by God and is more than just being happy, though happiness is a outcome of real joy. many people have explained happiness as being based on circumstances, events, fun things that happen, or people in your life. Joy goes beyond the circumstances and exists when things may not seem quite so bright. i like to think of it this way.
Joy is like a climbing vine. it starts in the Lord and grows up and all though out my heart. it intertwines with the things i love and hold dear, and grows among all the things going on in my life. and then it blooms! bright happy spots, flowers of smiles and giggles and contented sighs all throughout my life. little flowers that might not last very long before they whither and fall off. and sometimes there are more blooms than at other times. but that's ok. even when the little happy flowers are gone, the joy is still there. it remains because it is not based on things happening around me. it is still there because it is rooted in the Lord, not my heart. so when my heart feels like it's breaking, that joy coming from my God, holds it together. Gods joy holds me together.
i applied that to the verse, how it says that a joyful (joy-full) heart is good medicine. and, of course, it's so true. being down in the dumps can make us feel tired and worn and even sick. but finding the joy that our Maker puts in our lives, well that can give us a renewed spirit and be a better pick me up than an entire pot of coffee or a 64 oz soda pop. i look at the Psalms and how there are so many beautiful praises to God for His goodness. so many psalms that when you read them, you just want to smile or laugh or even jump up for joy! see! there it is. joy coming from the Lord.
so i look for the bright spots. i can see the little happy things that make evident that my joy from Him is still there (and i know that it always will be, because i am assured of my salvation). i may still be tired and in need of a nap, due to chasing my boys around. i may have those days where i shed a few tears over something big or even something little. but the joy is there underneath, and i'm working to make it more evident on the surface as well.
i'm hoping to be able to plant a climbing rose bush in my backyard this spring, so that i will have a visual reminder. a temporary symbol for something eternal. :)