Claim the Joy

A few months ago I was asked to give a talk for my church's congregation that I titled "Strive For Joy."  It was based on a General Conference talk by President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Russell M. Nelson.

You can read his address here.

Today I was asked to facilitate a discussion based on the same talk.  I didn't want to repeat what I had said in October, which was what we should avoid that disrupts our joy.

As I reread his talk, this quote stood out to me.

 "...what must we do to claim the joy that Heavenly Father has in store for us?"
 Claim the joy.  What an interesting choice of words.  We must CLAIM the joy?

This got me wondering about the word claim.  What does it mean exactly?

The verb form is defined as

"assert one's right to"
This caused me to wonder, what does the word assert actually mean?

"to state a belief confidently or forcefully"

So in essence we need to state confidently or forcefully that we have a right to joy.

When I think of someone doing this, I think of the statue that is currently down the street from where I live here in New York City.

Whenever I walk by it, I see a crowd gathered around her and only a couple by the bull.  What makes her so popular?

I think there are lots of reasons, but one of them has to be that sweet face.  She is staring down the charging bull both confidently and forcefully.  Everyone likes to see the underdog win.  

So if we are that little girl who wants to claim the joy that is due to us, what is the charging bull in our life?

I think we each have lots of charging bulls, and it seems like a lot of them start with the letter "D."  







This is the earth's report card. 

This mortal journey on this earth is definitely not all fun and games.  But can we find joy amidst all the "D's" in our life? 

President Nelson says yes. 

"Saints can be happy under every circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year!"

Can we feel joy when our business goes bankrupt?  Yes!

Can we feel joy when our husband leaves us for another woman?  Yes!

Can we feel joy when we are diagnosed with cancer?  Yes!

Can we feel joy when we have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?  Yes!

But how?  What does joy look like even in the worst of circumstances?  Surely it doesn't mean we have a smile on our face and we skip through the tulips.
Whee!  I just found out I have cancer! 
I think that joy is different than bliss or worldly happiness.  To me it's more of a constant assurance that we don't need to lean on our own understanding but that we can trust in God who loves us because we are His children.

We gain this joy by not focusing on our circumstances, but focusing on the One who saves.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ doesn't necessarily take away our tears, but it can give us joy while we shed them.

We just need to claim it.

(Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press)

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This is not an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.