Except for a few holiday and current events related posts, I have been fairly quiet.
I wish I could say that I had nothing to express, but that wouldn’t be true. More like..I have so much going on in my heart that somewhere between heart and typing fingers, a traffic jam occurred.
For a few weeks, I have longed to express what was in my heart, but I wasn’t even sure what it was. Something inside was aching.
For the last couple days, I was sure that I wanted to send out a plea filled missive: “send help!”
But help for what, exactly?
Today, I felt sure of the rest of the message “Send help! My joy is being stolen!”
But still I couldn’t type.
Tonight, finally I know why.
My joy hasn’t been stolen away — I have been distracted away from joy.
Tonight in my head (a noisy and chaotic place to be sure!) was a conversation that went something like this..
Me “Why is my joy always being stolen?!”
God “How can anyone steal what belongs to Me? Nope. Try again, Dollface.” (Yep – sometimes God calls me by pet names that make Him sound like the star in a 1950s gangster movie.)
Me (pouting): “Fine! I keep letting people have my joy!”
God “I give joy. I take joy. Its My joy, not yours, to give. Try again, Princess..”
Me: “Well, I don’t feel joy. Or see joy. I see hurt. And mean people. And obstacles. And inauthentic relationships. And did I mention mean people?”
God: “So..You have been distracted away from joy?”
Me “Yes! That’s my whole point! I have been…oh.”
God “Love ya”
I get it. The hurt, the pain, the betrayals the brokenness of the world – none of that would ever be strong enough to steal joy because joy belongs to the Lord.
But hurt, pain, betrayal and brokeness are certainly enough to distract me from focusing on the source of my joy – the Lord.
And that is enough.
All the enemy has to do, and all he wants to do, is distract.
In my strongest moments, I stand firm and gaze lovingly into the face of my Jesus and joy, peace, and hope flood over me.
Its a bit like lifting your cold face to the sun on a winter day – the sudden warmth as gratifying as the light.
So it is with our soul and God.
The enemy can no more steal joy than he can extinguish the sun — but he can make us turn our back on it.
A sudden hurt from the darkness and we spin around to face the dark.
Doubts creep in, and we immediately look down..away..distracted.
That’s where I find myself now.
I am pretty sure that we struggle as adults to find joy for one huge reason – we stop looking for it.
As a child, every day was met with an expectation of joy – we kept our faces to the sun.
We sought out the people we knew who made us giggle, read us books, loved us.
We believed in good.
And in the permanent availability of joy.
As adults? Not so much.
In fact, I would say we begin to suck at this.
We meet each day waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for the junk to pile on us, for the bad news, the let down. We are always ready for a fight, waiting for someone to turn out to be deceitful, nasty, or an enemy.
We become so very distracted by our own daily expectation of garbage.
We complain that our joy is gone, but the truth is we never looked for it.
I don’t have anything profound to add since this is my current battle and so I have not yet reached the point of being any wiser.
But I will tell you my plan.
First off, if anyone tells me to “choose joy” I will give them my best (worst) one eyebrow up, sarcasm-through-silence look.
Secondly, anyone who asks me who/what is “stealing” my joy will get the almost-degrading-but-you-can’t-prove-it laugh with a holier than thou “oh you poor misled sweet soul..stole my joy? Hahaha..how absurd!”
But mostly, I plan to expect joy every single day, to seek joy, to seek relationships and friendships that bring joy, to hold tight to the promise that the joy of the Lord is forever and that no one steals anything from God’s “dollface” ..got it?
Lifting my face to the sun, and Authentically Yours,
“So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy.”
~ John 16:22