I've been thinking about joy…

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:12 ESV

When I was a little girl I was taught the acrostic of JOY—Jesus—Others—and You. As much as I admire this selfless reminder, it does not capture the idea that JOY creates a sense of well-being in and around me. I think of JOY as a rising of my spirit to heights of pleasure and happiness—often in spontaneous and surprising ways.

In her captivating TED Talk, Where Joy Hides and How to Find It, Ingrid Fetell Lee shares that early in her industrial design career her professors commented that her work brought them great JOY. Intrigued, she decided to become a JOY detective. She asked people everywhere what brought them JOY and soon discovered it was things like cherry blossoms, bubbles, swimming pools, treehouses, hot air balloons, merry-go-rounds, googly eyes, ice cream cones with sprinkles, rainbows, and fireworks. It became evident to Ingrid that tangible things could produce intangible JOY.

Ingrid mounted pictures representative of JOY on her studio wall and began to study the effect. She discovered that visual patterns, such as round shapes, pops of bright color, symmetrical designs, even abundance (a confetto versus confetti), multiplicity, lightness and elevation created JOY through her senses.

Studying brain research, she learned that when the amygdala is pinged by angular objects—the angles caused individuals to sense danger and set them on edge. In contrast, when the amygdala is pinged by round objects—the curves caused individuals to feel safe and put them at ease. This is particularly interesting to note as my husband, Darryl, has often taught that JOY is literally the absence of fear. They cannot co-exist together.

Do you want more JOY? Be encouraged! JOY is a delightful gift and one sanctioned by God in His Word. But just a word to the wise—you might be viewed as childlike, not serious enough or even worse—self-indulgent. But, don’t stop seeking after as many JOY-full moments as possible. If your JOY is non-existent or needs replenishing—ask Him to restore your JOY! Remember—many JOY-filled moments add up to a rich JOY-filled life! Choose JOY!