Joy = Happiness + Perspective
I know it is possible to be happy and not have joy. I don’t think it is possible to be joyful and not happy. If someone wants to argue the point, I’ll let them, but I can’t envision someone who is overflowing with joy and grumpy at the same time.
Perspective is what sets joy apart. Anyone can be happy when things are working in our favor. But joy is what allows us to sparkle in the dark.
Perspective changes everything. Having an eternal perspective stemming from the truths of Scripture allows us to rejoice in the worst of circumstances. Realizing that we are, right now, seated in Heavenly places is a profound perspective shift that radically changes how we pray. Perspective is what allows us to set facts aside and focus on Reality.
Joy is the canary for my soul. When joy drops dead I know I need to resurface and find the Light. Joy isn’t a fragile thing by any means, but it is always the first to leave when we stop walking in step with the Spirit. Joy and the Kingdom of God go hand in hand.
I used to think that depression and melancholy were the hallmarks of the Christian life. As an intercessor, mystic and someone desirous of a deep relationship with God I assumed melancholy was par for the course. I was under the false impression that depression led to spiritual maturity. There can be profound spirituality that arises in the midst of suffering, I don’t want to discount that. I simply want to say that there is an equally deep, possibly more profound spirituality to be found in joy.
Joy requires us to put to death the part of us that wants to be repectable. Joy requires us to embrace child-likeness. Joy encourages us to play again. Dr. Seuss sums it up well when he says, “Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them!” Obsolete children… no longer good for laughing or playing or getting caught in the rain.
Do you ever wonder what Jesus meant when he said, “Unless you become like children you will never enter the Kingdom of God”? I do. And my son Emory is helping me learn what it is to be a child.
Emory is totally dependant. He relies on Mom and Dad to get him where he wants to go, change his dirty dipers, decide when its time to rest, and feed him. Emory can do very little for himself – but he is totally happy. He has absolute trust that his parents will provide him with what he needs. Dani and I think about him all the time, we are attuned to his schedule and needs and will only do what we believe to be the best and most beneficial things for him. Emory doesn’t always like what we believe is best, but he accepts it the best he can and very quickly returns to the place of joy. I’m learning a lot from watching him.
Thanks again for reading friends,