“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 ESV
There are a few unique moments in our lives when we can experience joy and sadness at the same time. I think of those transitionary moments of when a child goes to school for the first time, or leaves home for school or walks down the aisle to begin a new life. Those are those unique moments of conflicting emotions. But as real as those emotions are, that is not the contrast spoken of in this week’s verse. The difference between joy and a crushed spirit is striking and typically cannot coexist.
There are things that occur in our lives that we cannot control, but there are a few that we can. We can choose to pursue joy rather than accept a crushed spirit.
We can choose to nurture joy, and as we do our spirit will be lifted, not crushed. It is tough to have a joyful heart and a crushed spirit at the same time. The difference could be in what we nurture vs. what we allow to happen.
If we are passive in having a cheerful heart, it is unlikely to happen, or at least unlikely to happen consistently. It takes some nurturing.
How might we nurture joy? I can think of a few ways that work for me.
Worship the Lord
Delight in relationships
Engage in meaningful work
Take a long walk on a beautiful day
Nurture a grateful heart
My list might not be your list, but take a few moments to think of what brings your heart joy and then pursue those things. This week nurture a joyful heart and let your spirit be lifted.