Simply laughing, letting yourself in to the present moment, like you opened the door to the party that is happening all around you. To lay down the weights you have been carrying, and let your shoulders drop in comfort and relaxation, feels strange but sweet.
Joy sparks joy, producing a lightness, both in level of gravity and brightness. The bright light causing the darkness to scatter away like critters in a dark room.
Joy gives way to breath and clarity and deep belief and faith.
I write a lot of about struggles and hard things, perhaps because I am trying to find the words that accurately describe where I spend a lot of my head space. However, in this year of seeking out the abundance of God, I want to also name the places of joy in my life. Seeking to laugh and step into a space of gladness. To experience the fullness of joy that God promises in his presence.
I wrestle to stay in the glad things, to remain there. Maybe I feel some happiness at the surface but it feels fleeting. Maybe I see it as superficial and irrelevant when there are bigger things happening. However, finding what brings you joy, finding ways that God delights YOUR heart is so essential.
It is a part of discovering who God made you to be, just as much as figuring out your talents and your calling. It is just as important as digging into your past and present memories or struggles.
Joy in the Lord, is about experiencing all of who God is….God is full of gladness.
You can see that in how Jesus loved children, how he enjoyed the company of many different kinds of people. He hung out with twelve dudes, they had have cracked a joke or two, right? All over the Psalms it talks about gladness.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. – Psalm 16-9
What does it look like when your whole being rejoices? Think about David dancing or celebrating. David sang and wrote poems, not just when things were hard but he was glad in the Lord. Think about the celebrating that Elizabeth did when she figured out she was expecting after years of barrenness in Matthew.
I used to think having joy was all about having everything go super great, that life was just as you expected, and every day was perfect. It was about being happy and content. But if that is all that having joy is, then I miss out on the deep joy of seeing the good in a day that is really crappy.
I miss out on the deep laughter that can come after a dark day. I would miss out on the joy of smiling with tears in your eyes after praying with a friend. I would miss out on community surrounding you when life isn’t at all what you expected.
By expecting life’s joy to be a certain way, you miss out on the unexpected. God showing up in ways you didn’t know that you needed.
That is often how God shows up, in the unexpected and unasked for ways. We didn’t even know that we needed to ask for that friend or extra $5 in our pocket. We didn’t ask for that affirmation at work or that encouraging conversation at the grocery store. We didn’t know that we needed to slow down and having a sick toddler actually provided that.
These days, for me that looks like running into a friend in a coffee shop. It means a sweet text from a dear friend, or even extra space to be with God on a Friday night. Or spending my weekday evening giggling with middle school girls. And even though life doesn’t look at all what I expected, God shows up to bring me into his joy.
I just have to choose to see it. I have to slow down and name it. I have look behind the curtain of “this isn’t what I wanted” and step into the joy party.
Being in the joy, changes me. It changes my heart reflexes. I am quicker to see it. Maybe it’s like any other muscle that needs to get stronger, maybe I need to do more reps like I do with my core and hamstrings.
So friends, where is it that you can see the joy in your life today?
I hope that you take a moment and counting the joys, the places of gladness, how often you smile. And let it change bring brightness and lightness to your heart.