Tuesday, October 20, 2009

28 Days of Joy -- Day 2

Well, I know that joy is very different from happiness, and that it isn't measured by the number of things we have to be thankful for, or even produced by rehearsing those things. But still, I decided that was a very good place to start this morning. And so I tried to list stuff off in my mind, but all I could think about was how much I didn't like the task I was doing at that moment.

Ahhh... Eventually, after several minutes of this (actually, at least a half-hour) I suddenly came to myself, checked my emotional state, and discovered the opposite of joy :( A whole bunch of feeling sad and frustrated was all that was there.

Wait a minute! This is exactly what I'm drawing a line in the sand AGAINST.

And so, I chucked the list of "I'm thankful for" and began remembering that Brother Lawrence washed dirty dishes his whole life, and lived in the very presence of God; that dear brothers and sisters across the ages and in oppressed countries have labored on and on in squalid conditions, and have been full of joy.

"Even if I had absolutely no reasonable hope of ever being 'happy' before I die," I told the Lord, "I would choose to rejoice in You." Much better than a list of reasons I currently have to be thankful. (Not that I shouldn't remember those things, or thank Him for them...just that I want to separate the reality of joy from the fetters of physical and emotional props.) And how many of you knew props could actually be fetters? :)

So, my heart did change somewhat. At least, I think it must have, as the succeeding blows of the day didn't feel as "blow-ish". When it turned out the chiropractor I want to see charges more than half my month's earnings; when the insurance lady who holds the fate of my little couch in her hands didn't call me back... Mind you, I'm not complaining - I'm rejoicing! These things didn't make me feel yucky. (Well, they tried initially, but I resisted.)

And then, I proceeded to write a great little scene - God's grace was on it.
And then, I was informed I would not have to do that particular task as often.
And then, I managed to follow along in dance class even though I'd missed last week.

So I ended up with some very good things (there are a few more I didn't mention) to add to the "I'm thankful" list. However, the joy didn't start there. It starts someplace very different, I think. It starts in the person of Jesus Himself.

Oh, and my housemate popped her head in and reminded me that Jesus wants our joy to be complete. Complete! Yep, that's what I want, too. COMPLETE!

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