Somewhere in my church-y education, I missed a memo. I don’t think I am the only one that made this mistake. Somehow, I came to believe that this word ‘joy’ meant happy, lovely and gleeful. For as long as I can remember, I listened to phrases like ‘so your joy may be complete’ and ‘joy to the world’ and believed that by loving God and believing in all the right things, I would automatically have an embedded exuberance. This is not the case.
Especially, when things are not joyful or people around me do not bear joy. By my nature, I am sarcastic and negative and plain grumpy. I am president of the Glass Half Empty Society. When I see a problem or situation, my first instinct is look at all the ways things won’t work or can’t be fixed. I spent many years trying to call down the joyful feelings. I prayed for joy. I worked for joy. I even changed so many things about myself in the name of searching for joy.
Until one day I stopped. Not because I wanted to stop, but because I had looked and done and tried and shopped and spent and used all the things and I was bankrupt in the joy department. It was in that very broken place that I was handed a proverbial “While You Were Out” memo. In these simple but profound words, I began to find joy.
You are enough.
I did not have to do anything. I did not have to change anything. I didn’t even have to pray more or eat better or clean up my mouth. Just in the breath of my creation, God had provided me with all that I needed for joy. Joy is not circumstantial. Joy is not moody. Joy is found by realizing that by trusting in God, All Knowing, we have a one of a kind joy embedded in our being.
Our happiness, our glee, our giddiness is not based on any external factor or condition. The joy that God describes in scripture is a profound sense of wholeness in being known and loved. And, friends, that is the Good News I need on days when the world seems hard and lonely and painful. My joy is not dependent on me. My joy was secured in my very first breath.