Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Joy

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It’s all the craze thanks to this Netflix show and I have to admit that I have joined the bandwagon. I recently cleaned out my closet thanks to the wisdom of Marie Kondo, the Japanese consultant and author of the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

The premise of Kondo’s advice about tidying up is simple. You can’t tidy without discarding. In the West, we have too much stuff. And it has to go. But how do you decide what to keep or give away?

Enter this week’s word: joy.

Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure or happiness.

According to Kondo, tidying up begins as you hold an item in your hand and ask, “Does this item bring me joy?” And if the answer is “no”, you say thank you for whatever gifts the item has brought to your life and then you let it go. You give it away or discard it. Joy-producing items are all that get to remain.

Joy seems like an odd word, doesn’t it when it comes to cleaning out your closet?

When my husband Kevin saw how much I was giving away on the basis of joy, he wondered if I’d lost my mind. “If I did that,” he said, “I wouldn’t have many clothes left!” He was very clear I was not to "Kondo" his stuff.

But I have to tell you -- adapting this joy rule to what I own, I soon felt lighter.

Less has been more. Less frees up time for more. Less gives me more energy to enjoy what I do have.

Here are three observations which I’d love to challenge you with this week as you think about how you might make room for more joy in your life. Or in other words, here's the what's in it for you--

  • Leaning into joy frees you from the expectations of others. There’s nothing fake about joy. Either you have it, or you don’t. What is joyous for me, might not be joyous for you. But, that’s ok. Joy springs forth in authenticity.
  • Leaning into joy frees you from hoarding. Joy is not multiplied by having more. It comes when we have what we need. So, why take more than we need?
  • Leaning into joy frees you to live in the NOW. Joy has little concern for the past or the future. Joy’s invitation means feeling something right in the moment where we are.

What is one thing you can do this week to invite more joy into your life?

God is inviting you and I into joy this week as we let go of what really fulfills our souls.



P.S. A couple years ago I wrote this article about how I've re-defined what joy means in my life with the magazine The Christian Century. I'd love to share it with you too!