Each email I send ends with Joyfully.
To be completely honest, I don’t always feel joyful when I’m writing emails. I like to-do lists and relieve stress when I can check items off it. Sending an email is often a quick way to shorten the list. But when I get to the end and type Joyfully, I always pause for a moment and ask myself, “Is this joyful?”
Sometimes, yes. And sometimes, no. There is no joy.
My mind has already moved on to tasks further down the list or later in the day. Emails are filling the inbox faster than I can respond. My schedule is calling me to leave the known of my office and venture into the world of new demands. Or, I’m just plain worn-out and tired. And there is no joy.
I have to remind myself to find the joy.
In the Bible, no one writes about joy quite like the Apostle Paul. His letter to the Philippians is full of exhortations to rejoice. Paul writes:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.Philippians 4:12
Paul knew what it was like to be stressed. He was constantly under threat from the Roman authorities. He was run out of towns. He was in and out of prison. He was in a perpetual state of worldly insecurity. Despite all of this, he had learned to be content and found his own joy:
- that everything that has happened will turn out for his deliverance (1:18-19)
- in the faith of others (1:25)
- in welcoming a friend home (2:29)
- in the Lord always (3:1; 4:4)
- that people care about him (4:10)
None of Paul’s list requires a stress-free life, the perfect job, the perfect family, or anything at all. He certainly didn’t have those things. What he did have was a relationship with God and God’s people. He had a calling to a purpose greater than himself. He had faith that God was with him always. And, that’s how he chose to view the world.
Living joyfully is choice.
In the midst of the to-do lists, the flooded inbox, and the realities of life, there is much to be joyful about…if I will choose it. My family. My friends. My health. My blessings. My opportunities. My free will.
And so to remind myself that joy is a choice I always want to make, I continue to close each email, signed joyfully.