When Joy Isn’t Hanging in My Closet


You know how they say you can read a verse in scripture many times before it actually hits you and gives you that “aha!” moment?

Or how you can hear a sermon on the same topic many times before you truly understand it and feel as though you can apply it to your life?

I came across a verse in Psalms the other day and had one of those moments.

It was a verse on joy, one that I’d often describe as a “feel good” verse…meaning its the kind I like to turn to when I need some encouragement and want to feel…well, good.

Except this time it hit me differently. Not because I felt filled with joy or proud of myself because my heart was in the same place as the Psalmist’s. Actually quite the opposite.

It hit me head on because I wanted that joy described in the verse. I needed that joy. And it was evidently clear to me why I often don’t feel that joy.

I read this:

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.”

As I read the words, God reminded me that real joy is not dependent on my circumstances. I think I usually choose to read that verse as “there will be joy found in my path of life, with lots of pleasures at my right hand.”

I have a lot of false joy in my life. God has been revealing this to me more and more as He peels back the onion layers of my heart. Many times I look at the successes, pleasantries, and things that make me feel good about myself in my life and label them “JOY”.

But when they are taken away or removed temporarily, I am left feeling empty. Why? Because if I build my sense of joy on that which is situational and temporary, I will be void of joy when things change.


And this verse tells me that joy is found in his presence. His presence never leaves me.

In his presence, eternal pleasures are found. Not temporary pleasures, but eternal. Never ending; never changing.

No matter what my path of life is, I can have continuous joy in Jesus. My life path may not always make me happy. But it can always be filled with joy when I look to Him and not to self.

I am clinging to this verse as I continue to grow, as my life changes, and as I feel myself being stretched. And as I cling to it, I am finding rest; because it takes away all the pressure of trying to find that  joy hanging in the back of my closet, and hoping it fits perfectly.