…and the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (ACTS 13:52)
“Joy is the unmistakable work of the Holy Spirit.” That’s the quote I heard this morning at church spoken by a perky, bright gal named Denise. It really struck me as profound. It’s the soul of happiness. Joyful people are the ones God uses so often to bring others to Himself. How am I doing? Do I have this gift? Am I sharing it as I should? These were my questions and they were a big part of my Lenten prayers this morning. So, I have been contemplating about the most joyful folks I have met in this life, and I am comparing them to the stories of some of my favorite joy-filled saints. Here is my unscientifically created list of Top 10 Qualities of Joyful People! Do you consider yourself a JOYFUL PERSON? How many of these qualities do you have? What have I left out?
1. They don’t take it personally. Joyful people are other focused. They consider circumstances and consider that they may not have all the information. They do not look within themselves insecurely. When things don’t go their way, joyful people do NOT dabble in the form of self-centeredness which takes it personal.
2. They see the bright side. Joyful people tend to do the following when things go wrong, “Well, in good news…” They reflect on lessons learned, solutions which might be employed next time, and they find a way to be content—even in a storm.
3. They don’t judge. They know the only perfect person was Jesus and know “I’m not Him!” They are able to find something positive to say about even the most challenging folks around them. They’ve made their own mistakes, picked themselves up, and are working on their own holiness by shining their light, not wagging their finger.
4. They know there is a time for everything. We can’t always work, nor can we always “have fun”. Joyful people scoop up opportunities to show up for others, they don’t dwell on past mistakes, and take time to enjoy the little things. Sometimes, that means belting out a favorite song or showing up for the little league game. Other times, it means taking time for sacred silence.
5. They are self-aware. Joyful people know what their gifts are, as well as their quirks and shortcomings. They know who they are and what they are capable of. They have the kind of positivity (despite their own flaws and misgivings) that cannot be taken away– because it wasn’t gifted to them by men.
6. They are creative. For many, when joy exists before the “I”, and they are able to live a life standing outside their own egos, a greater sense of creativity is present in them. Joy thinks outside the box. Many joyful people are just plain silly at times! They aren’t afraid to look like a fool. Many times, this will mean they are curious types who ask questions and are truly interested in knowing more about you!
7. They are consistent. Joyful people are not typically regarded as “sometimes joyful”. Others see them that way. Period. It’s sometimes quiet, but ever present. Even in sadness, joyful people still exude flickers of light. It may manifest itself very differently, but it’s always there. It’s a divinely given gift, after all, and is rarely a gift for just a season. Therefore, authentic joy doesn’t need a reason or a season. It’s simply unreasonable happiness which is rooted in deep gratefulness to God.
8. Joyful people are loving. When people describe others they know who are joyful, they always mention love. Don’t believe me? Ask around! The truly happy know joy isn’t a feeling. They are people who have turned themselves toward God. The only response to that is the living of the high adventure and love that is rooted in the divine.
9. They appreciate simple. Joyful people have learned to love the simple things. They find deep peace in knowing their blessedness. Things like campfires, sunny mornings, cool breezes, a long walk, a good giggle bring deep interior consolation. Sure, joyful people might enjoy “the good things in life” just as much as anyone, but they aren’t terribly attached to them.
10. Joyful people love themselves. They know deep within that they are beloved sons and daughters of God.
I am grateful to God especially for St. Teresa of Avila, St. John Vianney…and my sis Robin, Vivian, Lily S., Jake A., Janie M. and Renee (among many others) for their examples of joyfulness that inspire me!