Finding Your Joy Again | Guest Interview with Stacy Park of Spark Wholeness

At the beginning of the year, I shared that I had been through a really rough previous year but how I also felt like I was finally coming up for air. I also talked about the importance of opening up to others about struggles, so that you can have support from your community and not go through life alone. 

Last weekend I met up with my friend, Stacy, and we talked about similar experiences and offered mutual support to one another regarding finding joy again. It was such an encouraging and refreshing time to be open, honest, and vulnerable about seasons of joyless-ness while also knowing that these seasons don’t last forever. Sometimes it is actually the tough times that produce the most joy. How can you truly identify what joy is unless you haven’t had it for a while? In the Bible, in the book of James, it is explained that those who follow Christ should actually count trials as joy because we will be strengthened and He has promised that we will not be lacking in anything!

James 1:2-6

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

After Stacy and I talked about life and things we were learning, we transitioned into talking about JOY! I had some questions prepared beforehand and below is a summary of what we discussed. I had hoped to type this in a dialogue style, but we had such a great time talking that it just became impossible to write down everything we spoke about. We talked, and talked, and talked. Aren’t friendships great?? I hope that you will be encouraged by our discussion. Also, if you follow my Facebook page or IG, I have videos linked from a live-chat that Stacy and I had for her website. 

What does joy mean to you? And what is the opposite of joy?

“Joy is a choice that needs to be made everyday! It is turning from pain and giving all your pain, worries, and care to the Lord–knowing that He will fight for you and give you joy (Exodus 14:13-14). Pain leads to growth and growth leads to joy! The opposite of joy is pain–and often times they both come hand-in-hand.”

What does joy look like to you on the inside? And what about the outside?

“Internally, joy begins with the mind. You have to focus on what is good and the blessings that God has given to you. Internal joy is being able to practice gratitude, even when your flesh doesn’t want to. When you have the right metal frame of mind to focus on blessings and gratitude, the mind can control other parts of the body which can ultimately lead to experiencing joy! An external display of joy can look like having a quiet confidence. You are anchored in peace and you know that your identity is in Christ. External joy will be genuine, as well. If you have joy in Christ–you will not have to “fake” trying to be happy.” 

Can you recall a time that you felt far from being joyful?

Due to privacy, I am not quoting things that Stacy shared with me but I will summarize this section. Stacy shared with me that she has been through a few years of dealing with surprising hardships, challenges, and testing of her faith. She shared with me that these hardships have not been comfortable for her, she has often felt like wanting to run away from the pain, and maybe even question God. Stacy shared that her family has gone through various challenges in the last few years–and that not many outside people knew. While she was still trying to minister and serve her family, not being able to open up to people outside her family was very isolating. 

Do you have any specific Bible references that encourage you when it comes to having joy? What truths do you speak to yourself? What about any specific worship songs that encourage you? 

“Bible verses that encourage me are Philippians 4:8–fill your minds with things that are true, noble, right, pure, and lovely— and Psalm 104–enter His courts with thanksgiving in your hearts. And some worship songs I am loving are from Hillsong, especially New Wine. Truths I speak to myself are that God has not given me a spirit of fear but a sound mind ( 2 Timothy 1:7) and also that I am not lacking anything in Christ. I surround myself with things that remind me of God’s word, truth, promises, and signs of hope. Gratitude journaling is very powerful and helps you to remember what God has done.”

What are some practical things to keep in mind when it comes to finding your joy?

“Make a list each week of 10 things that make you feel joyful and schedule time for each of those things to happen in your week–it helps to give you something to look forward to. Be in prayer and worship during your commute each day, it helps to set the tone of your day. Take a sabbath and truly rest! Sabbath can be a powerful time to evaluate stress and identify things that are stealing your joy. Also make an effort to take breaks from social media–it is sometimes a joy-killer and comparison is dangerous! Go to workout classes that are fun and make you happy to exercise (ie yoga, pilates, rock climbing, etc). Community is another important thing to have–even if you feel like shutting yourself off from people, make yourself get out and go see your friends, family, church anyway!”

Just for “funzies”, what are 4 things that bring you joy?

“Some types of music that I am really loving are Selena Gomez’s new album, Tayla Parx, and I love turning on Post Malone and jamming out in my car! I am a Rachel Hollis guru and really like her books Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing. Chuy’s Taco Salad with Jalapeño Ranch also really brings me so much joy!”

How can others connect with you (Stacy) and your ministry, Spark Wholeness?

“Readers can connect with me on my website– sparkwholeness.bigcartel.com— I have some new clothing products, including leggings! Readers can also go to the “Schedule Me” section of the website for fitness classes, workshops, speaking events, etc. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.” 

Stacy, thank you so much for hanging out with me, being vulnerable, talking about joy, and all the other funzies that we had last weekend!! Readers, I hope something about our conversation will help you if you are also dealing with a season of finding your joy again. Which of these questions, that we discussed, stick out to you the most?

Love From Amy Blog

 

For the Waiting Heart

As I have become older I have realized that there is always going to be a season of life when you are waiting for something. Waiting for a goal to be accomplished, a major life change, a relationship, a child, good health, a job or promotion, an answer to prayer, difficulties to be over, good things to happen, etc., the list goes on and on of things we are waiting for. During these times of waiting, it can become very easy to think that you are alone, that life is out-of-order, or that God has left you alone. Be encouraged that God has not left you–He will never leave you. I know I have written similar encouragement in similar blog posts but I think that this is some of the most helpful encouragement that I have received from others. God always has a plan for things and for them to happen in His, PERFECT, timing. He has not forgotten you and He is not punishing you. I used to think those things if God didn’t answer a prayer in the way that I wanted Him to, but those thoughts are lies and they are not true. So if you are waiting for something, I hope these verses can give you some peace and settle your heart.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Psalm 27: 13-14 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.

IMG_2291

 

 

 

For the Joyful Heart

How are you doing this evening? I hope life is going well and that you have had a good week. I hope that life is full of joy and that you can think of many things to be grateful for. Life is hard sometimes, and you might be going through something really difficult right now,  but there are always, always things to be joyful about, if you choose to. I have written some blog posts before about love, grief, worry, and suffering (I’ll link those below), but today I want to talk about joy and it’s Giver! I’m also sharing some Bible verses that give praise to the Lord for His goodness and I hope they will encourage you.

1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Joy can be found in Christ when we commit ourselves to Him and follow Him. There is no one or nothing else in this world that can fill our lives the way that Christ can, and that’s amazing.

Psalm 47:1 Clap you hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy!
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
John 16:22 So with you: now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Even though life is complex and uncertain, we can be certain that one day we will have eternal joy that cannot be taken away!

Psalm 30:11 You turned my mourning into joyful dancing; You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.
Psalm 34:5 Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy, no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

Joy is produced when we trust in the Lord and surrender completely to Him!

It’s so cool that the Word of God is still alive and active today, and relevant to any life situation (Hebrews 4:12) and these words can be a guide through life. What are some verses that encourage you and bring you joy?

For the Grieving Heart

For the Fearful Heart

For the Beloved Heart

IMG_2291