"The joy of the Lord is my strength."
"with joy for the Lord had made them to rejoice..."
"...with joy: for the Lord had made them joyful and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God..."
"in Thy presence is fullness of joy..."
"make me to hear joy and gladness"
"Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.."
"they that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
"Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and thy words were unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart for I am called by thy name..."
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, in believing that ye may abound in hope through the power of the holy Ghost."
Now this may sound silly but bear with me as I type out a bit of what God has been working in me, in my search to fill my ordinary days and ordinary life with joy. I've found that joy is found not in putting a smile on my face, not in hardening one's heart against pain or in avoiding conflict, nor in seeking out only pleasurable moments and trying to ride the high of those. For me, joy has been found fully in the Lord. The word fully is key. In fully embracing sorrow, fully embracing pain, fully embracing loss. It is human nature to protect ourselves and so we brace ourselves, turn inward for relief, allow a scab of protection to grow. But do you know, when we steel our hearts against one extreme, like hurts, for instance, we harden our hearts just enough that we can't experience the fullness of joy either. It's true. It's something that over these last months God has been working in my heart and opening my eyes to and a lesson I'm still working on and think I always will be. To know fullness of joy in Him, I've had to embrace the fullness of everything in life, good and bad, seeking to be content in any circumstance, trusting Him to carry the unpleasant parts while keeping my heart wide-eyed open and vulnerable.
It is a beautiful lesson.