When I’m hungry for a certain food, I add it to our weekly menu. It helps me to get my “fix.” In a similar way, when a topic is on my heart, I write about it. I write what I need to read, and this post is no different.
Right now, I’m craving joy. I want a great big bowl of it.
Joy, by definition, is “a feeling of great pleasure, and happiness.” Its synonyms include delight, jubilation, and triumph. (Yummo- right?!) Now don’t get me wrong, my life is good. I’m blessed with wonderful family, dear friends, health, and great comfort. I have more than I need. Given my abundant blessings, why am I still hungry for joy? Why are we all hungry for joy?
Isn’t joy what we’re seeking when we strive for the big promotion, watch the funny cat video, eat the extra slice of pizza, or buy the shoes?
With all of this time spent joy-seeking, why is it that we often fall short of experiencing it? In his book Resisting Happiness, Matthew Kelly explains the paradox in this way:
“Nothing on earth can satisfy your desires. The reason is very simple. You have a God-sized hole in your heart. You cannot fill it with things, money, status, power, sex, drugs, alcohol, other people, experiences, or accomplishments. Only God can fill the hole. Throw all the money and possessions in the world into the hole and you will find it is still empty, and you are still yearning for something more. We all make the mistake of hoping that certain people or things will fill the hole, but sooner or later, each of us must come to realize that only God can fill the hole of our deepest longings.”
We can only find fulfillment through Him, and this is 100% by His design. This is further explained in the opening chapter of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It reads, “The desire for God is written on the human heart because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will man find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.”
Around the dinner table one evening, we were having a discussion about this very concept, and my husband explained it by drawing this illustration:
For me this perfectly illustrates our issue. God designed us to need Him. The only way for us to experience true happiness and joy is through Him. Attempts at finding happiness and fulfillment in things other than Him will always be futile. So how do we do we get our “fix?” How do we fill our God-shaped holes with God so that we can experience joy?
I think we can satisfy our craving by following a very simple recipe:
J.O.Y. : Jesus, Others, Yourself
If we want joy, we have to seek Jesus daily. We have to accept Him as our savior, and we have to call upon Him to rule our hearts. We need to start each day asking Jesus to guide our steps. As it states in Galatians 2:20, “It is no longer I who lives in Christ, but Christ who lives in me.”
The second ingredient,O, is for others. To add “O” to our joy recipe, we need to love each and every person that crosses our path. When someone is hard to love (and I know some people are hard to love) remember:
You will never look into the eyes of someone God does not love.
God gave us Jesus, Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, and He asks us to sacrifice ourselves for others. The extent of our love for Him, is demonstrated in how we love other people.
So we have J, for Jesus, and we have O for Others. What is the last ingredient? It’s You. When you and I focus on Jesus first, Others second, and ourselves last, joy is made.
It’s easy to be tempted to throw in a bunch of fancy ingredients like money and power, but these won’t make our lives any richer or tastier. God’s recipe is simple. If we want to fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts, we just need J.O.Y.
Jesus Others You.
My God-shaped hole is hungry, so JOY will be on my menu this week. Will it be on yours, too?
In His Love,