Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 15:13
"A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken"
This is a proverb about the inner person. The word joy is a word about gladness and pleasure and intimacy. Joy is always connected to intimacy of relationships, usually in the Scripture with God. We have joy when we are with those whom we have intimate connections – those we want to be with – to go deeper with which brings pleasure to our heart. When we try and develop the same level of joy, gladness, or pleasure with things, they ultimately do not satisfy as Ecclesiastes says in Ecclesiastes 2:1-3.
Another way of saying this verse is that when our relationships are right, we cannot help but have a cheerful face and countenance. When we have bitterness and disconnection in one or more of our relationships, then it is natural to have a pained or hard or sullen countenance. Our face is a reflection of the depth of joy in our soul. We, however, are not victims of what has happened to our soul but can instead choose to improve the relationships we have and thereby changing our joy, thereby changing our outward appearance.
Since we have only nine basic relationships, it is helpful to go through them when we seem inescapably down and look for which one or ones are disconnected or lacking proper intimacy. These are the nine basic relationship of life: God, Self, Marriage, Family, Work, Church, Money, Society, Friends. If we have a disconnect with any of these or are harboring bitterness in any one of these relationships or are unwilling to see beyond selfishness in these relationships, then we will not have joy and will not have a bright face.
As you look at these relationships, which one stands out to you needing a greater level of intimacy and pleasure? Many need to deepen their relationship with God by submitting to Him, learning from Him, being guided by Him, etc. Some need to have a greater relationship of harmony with themselves and come to know their skills, gifts, talents, and desires and also develop the Christ-like qualities that will result in peace with self: Humility, Brokenness, Meekness, Righteousness, Mercy, Purity, Peacemaking, Strong Faith.
One of the places that many have not done enough work for the development of their joy is in the area of their work. One's work or vocation must connect with intimacy and desire to your actual skills and gifting. The closer to what you are doing connects with the skill-set that God has given you, the more intimate you can be with the work itself. It will just resonate with you. The more you have to operate out of your gifting and skills, the more disconnected your work will be from the real you, and it will go slower and be a drudgery. One should initiate moving toward doing work that is a true expression of who you are.
This would mean getting the training that you need; this would mean exploring the schooling you need; this would mean changing careers and assignments and fields until there is a resonance between who you are and what you do. It can also mean orienting yourself in a field in such a way as it resonates with your skill and gifts set. This is essential and will result in joy and a cheerful face naturally.