I love JOY, but then – who wouldn’t?  Joy – a feeling or emotion of great delight, pleasure or happiness.   I want to be joyful, not because my life is all rosy or without challenges, but because I know my life was ordained and is sustained by the source of true joy – Jesus Christ.  And this life is only temporary.  Living a life of joy does not mean that I always experience those feelings of delight; I do have bad days.  

A couple of years ago when I was going through a rough spell I was talking with someone who was challenging me to consider that maybe the reason I was feeling as I was had to do with my lack of self care.  I wasn’t really happy to have anyone delve into this area. After all I am caregiver; at that time I was caring for my mom, my husband and what felt like half a world of other people! It’s all about others, not me!  She asked me where I got that idea.  

I don’t recall if I began singing or not, but at the very least I quoted the song we sang over and over in Sunday School as kids  . . . 
        Jesus and others and you, what a wonderful way to spell Joy
       Jesus and others and you
in the life of each girl and each boy

      “J” is for Jesus for He has first place,

    “O” is for others you meet face to face,
   “Y” is for you, in whatever you do
     Put yourself third and spell JOY.
I don’t know how many times I sang this song as a kid – but it was many and burned the message that it’s not about me into my head.  Well, actually that’s not the message I took.  It is entirely true that life in NOT about me.  But this song, nor several of the Scripture verses I had twisted in my head, said that I was NOT to take care of myself; but that I wasn’t to be self focused.  
I realized I had to change my visual of JOY.  I saw it as a very linear concept.  
As I pondered this idea more I realized a better depiction might look like this.  

With more pondering and reflection, a third image came to mind.  
What I like about this one is that it represents movement and change.  It starts with Jesus as the primary source of joy.  As He moves, the gears of “others” and “you (me)” are set in motion.  Both need to be attended to for joy to be real and complete.   I can’t serve others if I have not taken care of myself.
I think this may be a healthier way for me to spell JOY – Jesus as the lead, and caring for myself so I can then care of others.  

How do you spell JOY????