A Fullness of Joy

Have you ever spent days mentally battling yourself over a topic?  An epic struggle rolls and tumbles through your head and heart, opposing ideas tumultuously and rapidly exchanging advantage one for the other & back again, all while the outside of you quietly and systematically presses on through normal routine in a mundane way.  Inside you may be screaming, “yes”, “no”, and “run”.  Yet on the outside you casually respond to the generic how are you question with a very casual, “good”.

A deficiency of joy.  A fullness of joy.  They are two very different ends of the spectrum, which I have been flipping over and turning around & around again in my head as if I am preparing to audition for an acrobatic act in a big time circus.

I have recently felt like my life has had a deficiency of joy.  I am lacking something important.  Not that I am starving of joy, completely devoid of it…instead it has felt as though my joy has been skimpy, meager and inadequate. It’s like that feeling, when you are not really sick, but at the same time you are not well, just sort of somewhere in between missing something.

How does some one who founded PEP UP for Joy have a joy deficiency?  How am I supposed to have a hope of sharing joy and building people up when I am feeling down?  I certainly do not want to pull people down.  So what do I do with this deficiency?

Honest confession.  I have a joy deficiency.

I am sharing that with you, my dear readers.  I long deeply to have a rich and lavish fullness of joy.  Right now what I have is just a little bit.  It is like not having enough dough to cover the pan to make a pie crust.  I pull and tug on one side and totally rip a hole in another area.  So I attempt a patch job and pull apart a third spot.  It may be a great opportunity to practice patience, but I seem to be a bit deficient of that as well.

This is how we express this in Minnesota…”oof dah”.

Yes, I am a mess.  But I will state for the record, that I am a beautiful mess.  A mess who needs to take her own advice, the most humbling prescription to choke down.

I totally believe that Passionate Encouragement and Prayer Uplifts People and brings great joy.  I have been falling short on my execution of my own philosophy lately.  I have probably been more indifferent than passionate, more aloof than encouraging and my prayer life, well, that has been a bit lean as well.

Here is one of the things I love about God, He accepts thin prayers.  Meager prayers.  Prayers small on words.  So my greatest prayer this week has been this:

Lord, give me a fullness of joy

Seven words.  That is it.  The best that I can come up with can be said in one breath.

I have been trying to still myself enough to listen for a response.  So far, this is what I have heard.

Love Gives Joy

My most immediate response to this statement was that I am just too tired.  I can’t give any more.  I have tried so hard to love that I have just become exhausted.  Where is the fullness of joy in exhaustion?

Then in great mathematical fashion, God showed me the error in my order of operations.  I thought I needed to give love to receive joy.  God said, why don’t you try being loved first and then give love away.  Do that and the whole joy component will work itself out.

Really?

I happen to be an incurable romantic at heart, even when the scales are so close I tend to lean to that side with just a little spark of hope in it.  Which is why, in the end, this post is titled “A Fullness of Joy” and not “A Deficiency of Joy”.  God designed this incurably romantic heart of mine, which is why I think I received this message.

When the joie de vivre has taken leave, it is God’s love I must receive. 

In case you are not familiar with the saying “joie de vivre”, it is french and means a joy of living, an exultation of spirit.  When we have a deficiency of joy, we need to receive God’s love and tender care.  RECEIVE love first.

We must soak up the love of a lifetime to live a life of love & to experience a fullness of joy. 

Does anyone else have a harder time receiving than giving, or is it just me?  You would think that receiving love would be a good thing and would be easy to do, but I know need to practice my receiving skills.

How do we receive love?

Trust people when they tell you they love you.  Don’t doubt or second guess, especially from those relationships closest to you.  When they say it, take it in.  Chances are those closest to us have spent time building a shared level of trust so we can believe what they say.

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Watch children.  They soak in love like sponges.  They shout, wave vigorously, and smile from ear to ear when they see someone they love.  They hug and hold on longer than most adults can stand without feeling awkward.  Perhaps that is why Christ says that we are to come with the heart of a child.  Come to think of it, most children bounce through their days like rubber balls filled with joy.

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Spend time in scripture and prayer.  When it comes to love, I often go to the books of John and 1 John.  “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 (NIV).  I think it is a good prayer to ask God to help us receive love from Him and from others.

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Funny how a deficiency of joy can lead to a focus on love.

Love Gives Joy

We must soak up the love of a lifetime to live a life of love & to experience a fullness of joy. 

 

 

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