A few weeks ago, my family and I spent our Saturday going to a church service held for a group of churches that we fellowship with regularly. The portion that I arrived for was split in two a session for the women and a session for the men. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the women were sharing personal stories that were on a very particular subject, the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is a very familiar passage of scripture found in the fifth chapter of the book of Galatians.
It was conducted by a very dear friend of my family, and she asked a very simple question for each person to share, which attribute of the fruit of the spirit do you feel has most impacted your life? The fruit are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
As she went around the room she kept calling for different women to give their answer. I sat quietly pondering on what answer I would give. As I heard the amazing stories from each woman about their experiences and how the attribute they selected helped them, I felt so inspired. There were so many tales of overcoming, growing, and being courageous in God. My inward reflection about the fruit lead me to the shortest attribute of them all, joy.
Joy has not only been impactful in my life, I it has defined who I am. The Greek word for joy in the passage is Chara. Yep, that’s where my name came from. Chara means cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness, to be exceedingly joyful.
When people first look at my name, they’re inclined to pronounce it a number of different ways. I’ve been called “Cor-a” “Ky-ra” “CHAR-a” and “Shara.” As a child, I disliked that no one ever said my name right. I wished for a simple name like Beth or Sue, anything but Chara (spelled like “ch” but pronounced like “k”). I felt that way about my name up until high school, until I began to embrace it. The way I feel about my name has greatly evolved as I have gotten older; I love my name. By me not only embracing my name, but showing my name (the attributes of what it means) has taught me countless life lessons.
I’ve learned that while I do have a naturally cheerful and bubbly personality, the joy that is in me is most powerful when I do not feel cheerful at all. It’s like a silent swelling wave that comes rolling in and crashing down on the feelings of sadness and defeat. Joy gives me a broadened perspective that while everything in my life may be going wrong, it does not mean everything about my life is wrong. Joy has helped me to believe that things will and do get better.
Joy naturally makes me an optimist, I can not help but see the fullness, when circumstances highlight the emptiness. Most importantly, I have learned that joy is not the absence of sadness, hurt, or frustration, but joy is what counteracts the very things that try to defeat it. I shared in an Instagram post this quote,
“I have shine, not because I never faced a storm, but because in every storm I faced I never lost faith in the sun.”
If I could interchange a word in place of shine, it would be joy.
I can now smile and graciously correct people who mispronounce my name. It really doesn’t get under my skin anymore. I have fully embraced my name, what it means, and what it allows me to give. The meaning of my name is not just for me, but it is also for me to share and give to others. Chara is much more than a name to me, it is who I am.
I’m thankful for what joy is and what it means to me. What brings you joy? What are some things you do to keep your joy on full? Share your thoughts and comments below! I’d love to hear from you. Thank you for liking, sharing, and following!
Sharing the sunshine of life; wife, mom, faith, and purpose.