Reverend Andrew Schmidt.
Reverend Andrew Schmidt. Contributed

OPINION: Switching the focus on anxiety to joy

DO YOU remember the Sunday School definition of joy?

Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.

I want to write a little about joy, and about how that description might not be as shallow as it would first seem.

I also want to speak about anxiety, which by my understanding, is dominated by the question, "what might go wrong?"

I think anxiety is the opposite of joy. Let me explain.

I have mentioned previously the experience of tidying up using a version of the KonMarie method, asking the question, "does it spark joy?"

I even mentioned a post about a person tossing away their bills because they did not "spark joy".

For a lot of people there is an obsession with happiness.

You can see it in advertising, social media, and television.

Happiness is the sensory experience that is tied to our brain chemistry, to the presence of reward chemicals that are released through social and sensory stimulus, and it can be quiet addictive.

Joy however is much more difficult to pinpoint, but the question gives us a clue.

Can you imagine a time when you will be free of those debts; can you imagine a world where interactions are marked with grace?

Joy is that thing which uses the world around us to draw us into a future that is better, has deeper and richer relationships, and as such it is the opposite of anxiety, which is fear of the unknown future.

I know anxiety is more complex than that, with many permutations and impacts, and so is joy.

Joy is about moving our focus on happiness, to relationships and grace.

Rev Andrew Schmidt Good Shepherd Anglican Church