Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Joyfully Yours

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a baby shower, and the devotion time centered around the topic of joy. The lady doing the devotional took her thought from the verse in Psalms that says God makes the barren woman to rejoice, and be a joyful mother of children.

Joyful.

It got me thinking. Through all the talk of being a joyful mother in the midst of crying children, messy houses, frantic schedules, moody days, and spilled coffee on your favorite tablecloth, I saw how this verse applied to me as a single girl.

It's not just this verse. Countless verses in the Bible tell me to be joyful: "Rejoice in the LORD always, and again I say rejoice." "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord." "Serve the Lord with gladness." But I like this verse because it talks about a mother being joyful, and everybody knows that a mother's life - though crowned with the blessing of children - is full of the normal drudgery of everyday life. She has bad days. She has lots of work to do. She has many burdens. And she's supposed to be joyful.

Oh boy, did I see room for preaching in that verse! The Holy Spirit was creating a nice little message out of it, and directing the whole thing right into the center of my heart:

"Look at you! You don't have all the burdens of motherhood, but you deal with some of these same things; you have dirty dishes to wash, and a busy schedule to keep, and younger people depending on you, and rooms to clean, and a tub to wash. And are you joyful? Yes, I know you smile sometimes, and you sing sometimes while you wash dishes, but are you spilling over with that radiant joy that only I can give? Does laughter bubble up? Do you laugh very often? Are your eyes sparkling with love and life? Do you see My hand in things that go wrong? Do you trust Me to work it all out for the best eventually? Why do I see so much stress in your life?"

Ah, Lord, what questions!

You know, I would love to be that young lady who bubbles over with joy. How attractive - and how stress-free! A joyful person is a beautiful person...and how happy a joyful person must make the Lord! They are reflecting how wonderful a walk with Jesus is.

And yet, as I confessed to a friend once, "I feel like somebody needs to stress. I get worried if no one is stressing over things, so I it." Do you every feel that way? You'd like to be that storybook character who brings sunshine into every one's life.....but, hey, come on! real life is here. You have to worry about some things...right? How else will it all get done?

And so we are pressured to stay uptight. Don't relax completely. What? Trust God so much that you don't worry about anything? It's just not natural to be happy all the time. That's not allowed. It's... weird.

Last night I realized - again, and yet for the first time - that it's okay to be joyful. Really. So what if it's not natural, and so what if it feels scary to open my hands and let go? It's okay.

Really.

Go ahead. You know you want to. Laugh. Really hard. Sit still for a moment, in front of your computer screen....close your eyes, and let the tension melt away from your temples and forehead.

You didn't do it, did you? I'm serious. Do it.

Now open your eyes and smile. Really smile, a great big grin. Find someone nearby to turn to and let your eyes sparkle at them. Now laugh, a great big hearty laugh.

Doesn't it feel good? :) :) :) :)

1 comment:

WesternWoodburner said...

I enjoyed reading this and am tying to work in this area. Last night, I read a quote which made me laugh, "If you are saved, inform your face."