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Monday, November 17, 2008

Joyful, joyful we adore thee

My co-worker Brandon is a super fun guy for many reasons. Two strong reasons include:
This particular blog normally has very funny commentary of things a person who spent any amount of time in a church would find hilarious. Jon, the author, also wrote this most recent blog called "Teaching Yourself to Breathe Underwater." It had a lot of stuff in it that I am currently trying to sort out in my mind, specifically in the area of Joy.

He says stuff like this:

"Know that I am a God of joy. Big, messy, sloppy joy. Do I have boundaries for you? Without a doubt, but they're only there because discipline is a sign of love and I want you to experience the most joy possible."


"I put a train yard in your head. A thousand tracks intersecting. Let me be the one to sort those out. But don't beat yourself up for bringing other parts of your life into your 'God time.' I have a secret, that's exactly what I want. I want all of your life. I love when you bring other parts in. Overlap, come to me with everything."

"Ultimately, the thought I walked away from that idea with is pretty simple, "I don't want ‘God time’ to be part of my day. I want God to be my day." But what a rambling mix of metaphors I had to go through to get to that. Surfing and trains, and sharks and overlapping thoughts. But that's how God made me."


A couple of weeks ago, on a Sunday morning, we were discussing the topic of joy which has since sparked a desire in me to determine whether or not I have it. As my dear master-theologian friend Erin said "I laugh a lot, so people think I have it. I wonder if they would think that still if I didn't laugh all day."


Maybe I've been tricking all of you? Maybe I've been tricking myself?


I say this because there are a few things that can throw me for a loop and ruin a day despite the greatness of everything else around me. I'm sad that this is the case. I'm sorry that there are things that can affect me so dramatically and I think that was the biggest indicator to me that maybe joy was lacking in my life.

So I have spent the past week trying to live joyfully. There are things that still aren't perfect. There are still plenty of pressing questions I don't have answered. There are still areas of my life where I feel so inadequate. There are still moments and days when it takes all of my strength not to be so rotten. But this week I have implemented a few things to help me out. Here they are:

  • Just decide to relax. I have only recently realized the thing many of you have probably known for years: I am a super spaz. I can have minor freak outs all day as opposed to people who store them up and have a mid-life crisis around age 40.

  • Read things like this.

  • Read things like that and think about the line "I would have more actual problems and fewer imaginary ones."

  • Do not feel like you have to have a story to match one someone is telling. Sometimes its okay to just let them be the focus of attention.

  • Be okay not having a plan sometimes. I am a pretty solid mix of right-brain left-brain. I'm definitely in need of a little chaos but when it comes to my life, I normally have to have a plan. Plans bring me comfort. Plans help me to be ready for implosions. Plans also have a bad effect by allowing me to place all my hope and trust in my own understanding.

Okay, so this has been pretty scattered, but I say that to say this: I think I'm getting it.

I think I'm getting more practice with the daily study of joy. This means relaxing. This means flying by the seat of your pants on occasion. This means being ready. This means knowing that it's all been taken care of already. This means not worrying about whether or not your plans will actually come to fruition as you'd hoped.

I hope this means that you will also give me a little bit of grace.

Know that I will not always use my time effectively.
Know that I will usually change my mind 15 times in a 24 hour period.
Know that I will probably still want some semblance of a plan.
Know that I might be standing in front of you but my mind is 100 miles away.
Know that I occasionally ignore the practical steps to accomplishing a ridiculous goal.
Know that I will always need the freedom to go outside when I want to.
Know that I do not have a problem saying I'm sorry.
Know that I will still be crazy but I will hopefully also be joyful.

"I'm messy and even though you're different than me, I bet you're messy too. So let's stop trying to regulate our lives for God and instead embrace what God has planned for them. As chaotic and as sloppy and as unplanned and unexplainably joyful as that might feel sometimes." -Jon

3 comments:

Allison Drew said...

You can pretty much only get joy from Jesus.

MeLissa said...

Oh gosh. I don't want this to be misinterpreted. Clarification, just in case: I know where joy comes from, but I also know how to not live it out.

gschof said...

"I put a train yard in your head. A thousand tracks intersecting. Let me be the one to sort those out. But don't beat yourself up for bringing other parts of your life into your 'God time.' I have a secret, that's exactly what I want. I want all of your life. I love when you bring other parts in. Overlap, come to me with everything."

good word. i certainly have a thousand crazy, winding tracks running through my brain. and certainly God knows that because it's how he made me.

good word, and i miss you joyous meLissa :o)