"Remember that Joy is not dependent on your circumstances...True Joy is a by-product of living in My Presence. Therefore you can experience it in palaces, in prisons...anywhere. If you make problem-solving secondary to the goal of living close to Me, you can find Joy even in your most dfficult days." (292)
Today's devo brought to mind Nehemiah 8:10, "...the joy of the Lord is your strength." My strength is directly connected to His Joy! What brings Him joy strengthens me and increases my joy!
Scientific research reveals that we each have a "joy center" in the right orbital prefrontal cortex of our brains, directly behind our right eye ball. It is possible to restock our "joy center" in a healthy, wholesome way through joy-producing relationships. This happens whenever we are with someone who cares about us and is glad to be with us. The happy, warm feelings we experience neuro-chemically stimulate that part of our brain that releases neurotransmitters that lift our spirits thus regulating emotions, pain control, even immunity. It is the only part of the brain that overrides the main driving centers like food and sexual impulses, terror, or rage. If sufficiently developed especially during the first 18 months of life (through age 6), our "joy center," also known as the attachment center, makes us less likely to choose unhealthy substitutes for joy, enabling us to ward off a predisposition to various sexual, attachment and intimacy disorders that often spiral into destructive addictive patterns.
God created us for healthy relationships that can develop and strengthen the "joy center" of our brains. This part of the brain can continue to grow throughout our lifetime. When our amount of joy-strength is higher than our amount of pain, we can heal emotionally and relationally, constructively cope with life stresses and be our most loving, noble, God-honoring selves. Joy can miraculously rewire the stressed, traumatized and addicted brain! (See Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You, by Shepherd's House)
Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The LORD, your God, is in the midst of you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will rest in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing."
Can you hear "God singing" over you? Rejoicing over you with great "joy?"
Gaining Strength from JOY...dmc