Written by cycleguy on April 13th, 2015

I just read an article about a dermatologist who took his life, largely because he suffered from depression, but also because he was the subject of bullying.

As a pastor one of the things I have seen more and more in recent years is the struggle against shame and regret. Against feeling like a loser. Against feeling like there is no way out.

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I started reading Fight Back with Joy this past weekend and have been “taken” by it. One section stood out to me as I read:

The journey to joy begins with acceptance.

Acceptance acknowledges our helplessness and requires us to loosen our grip, slow our pace, and reorient our focus on God in the situation. Paul does not find contentment in bucking his circumstances but in surrendering control of them.

The journey to joy advances through adaptability.

We rarely choose what is subtracted from our lives, but we can choose how we respond. How we reorganize our lives in order to move forward.

The journey to joy leads us to greater dependence on Christ.  (excerpts from pages 46 & 47)

Margaret knows whereof she speaks. As she started studying “Joy” she found out she had breast cancer. This book is not an autobiography, but she does intersperse her experiences with lessons on Joy and others she is learning along the way.

In my ministry, I see acceptance as one of the hardest things to experience. Hence, the struggle with shame and regret. I’m not belittling those folks at all. Coming to terms with yourself, your past, your thoughts, you name it. Its not an easy thing to do but Joy becomes possible when you do.

What do you think? How have you experienced Joy?

There are some who are doing a weekly book posting about Margaret’s book. This is not part of it. For more on that check here.


9 Comments so far ↓

  1. Daniel says:

    I have seen some people whose lives were an absolute wreck transformed because somebody came to love them. In that love, they came to feel worthy, and then valuable, and then beautiful. Sometimes when joy is absent it is because we do not have anyone in our lives who makes us feel worthy, valuable, or beautiful.

  2. Jeff says:

    Joy is not a term I use. I am as happy as anyone can be tho. I just prefer “Happy”.
    I just want to say that for me “The Journey to Happiness” has nothing to do with a dependence on Jesus. It has nothing to do with a belief in the supernatural world.
    It only requires a clear conscience and a belief that we are all equal and entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    • cycleguy says:

      Everyone sees things differently for sure Jeff. There is a basic difference between joy and happiness. The latter depends on circumstances, whereas joy depends on something deeper inside. Margaret was not “happy” to have cancer, but she found joy in dealing with it.

      • Jeff says:

        I am not sure Joy has a deeper meaning than happiness traditionally. Maybe that is just a religious redefinition.

        Below is websters def. which seems to be the same as happy. If Margaret was joyful in dealing with Cancer she must have had a different cancer than what my Mother had. Nothing joyful about it.

        a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight

        b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety


        : a state of happiness or felicity : bliss


        : a source or cause of delight

  3. I think all of are happy at times. The problem is that happiness tends to come and go with circumstances. Joy is something that goes deeper than mere happiness. Joy is where I want to be and daily t is a journey.

  4. Kari Scare says:

    The journey of my life has largely included acceptance of depression and extreme physical sensitivities. Acceptance does not mean giving up though; rather, it means being led through. And in that journey, joy comes as I see the beauty created out of ashes.

  5. As Larry said, happiness is fleeting, but joy remains once we allow God to place it there. It’s too long of a story here to go into detail, but I recall a tragic time in my life when I lost my joy. Yes, I kept plugging away, plodding forward, but until I accepted my circumstances and let God work in my (instead of me against Him) my joy returned! Blessings, Bill!