Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Reason For Joy

"...the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is."
~Ann Voskamp

Thank you all for your kindness, support and love after my post on Tuesday. I'll admit it - that blog was a tough one to write. I constantly struggle with how much to tell, how much to keep to myself and what, exactly, God wants to share through me. From the many emails I received, the phone calls and texts - I'm assured that it was the right thing to do. I'm right smack in the middle of this crazy life, just like everyone else. And I'm so blessed not to walk it alone.

My first instinct when life gets difficult is to turn inward. To cut things and, sadly, people - out. In my rush to self-preservation, I just drop everything. It's selfish, it's unwise and, mostly, it's unrealistic. When I became a mother, my life became more about just me. And, as much as I'd like to stay in bed all day and lament how just plain unfair life can be, I don't have that luxury. My people need me. Not just "empty shell" me. Not just physical me. But me. My creativity and my soul. My insistence on life as more than just getting through the day, but living it, fully.

Yesterday I threw myself back into real life - starting with embracing the last bit of summer with my kids. I turned on the sprinkler and they didn't waste time looking for bathing suits before rushing right in. I sat and just watched them and let myself soak up in the joy and ease of childhood. Much better than sitting alone stewing, being with these carefree kids softened something in me. They shrieked and ran and played with reckless abandon. It reminded me of what it is to live free, secure in the knowledge that Someone is holding it all. Free to be happy, to sleep soundly, to smile bravely.

I forget that easily. I get hard and I get tired and I get to thinking that the only way to handle a crisis is to be serious and somber. But when I shrink back from all that is light in my life, I'm not doing myself any favors. I'm shutting the door on joy.

Joy is something I think about quite a lot. Why did God create joy? What purpose does it serve? Why is it something He so desperately wants for us? I'm not theologian so please take what I say with a very large grain of salt. But I've been thinking that Joy is more than just a gift. It's a necessary part of our lives in Him. Joy finds us when we fall deeper into the knowledge of and dependence on God's truth, grace and mercy. Joy finds us when we go looking for Him. Fear is replaced with peace found only in relying fully on Him, who has overcome the world. It's more than just being happy. It's heart surgery that's possible only when we are in complete surrender to His plans, contented with His will.

Maybe that's why it's so elusive during crisis. On the days when I'm gritting my teeth and trying to just on my own. I'm focused on the wrong things. I'm clinging tight to the comfort of what? My own feeble humanity? No wonder I'm so afraid.

True joy doesn't depend on circumstance. Joy is the balm of the promise of Heaven, wrongs righted, tears dried, longing fulfilled. It's a gift to those who break their clenched grasp of imagined control and let Him love. His way.

It's the only way to see the light, not just at the end of the tunnel, but along the way as well. Each day an invitation to find Him. Each moment an opportunity for greater gratitude. Just a little something I'm learning these days. I don't have to wait for it, for the stars to align in some sort of fairy tale perfection. I can hold it now. That's the reason for joy. Something to hold to, for such a time as this.

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  1. Perfect! You are so wise and so gifted in the way you write. Financial struggles and work related struggles happen to all of us and they are so temporary, yet they can consume us with worry. I say that because I've been there and I am there in so many ways so often. Yet the way you bring what matters for real to light does remind me that these worries are so insignificant and if this is all that is wrong, there really is joy all around.

  2. You are amazing and this is so beautifully put. If we could all embrace this kind of joy.

  3. absolutely beautiful Lydia....thank you for the encouragement! You are so right about
    when we give way to fear it's because we have lost sight of the moment...with us complete control and always because He LOVES us!
    It is during the trials and crisis in my life that I lose sight that God is Love!
    thank you for sharing with us,

  4. wonderfully written - and why do we let the joy-takers steal what is ours?? I read this today and immediately shared the link with a friend.


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