catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 16 :: 2009.07.31 — 2009.09.03


Recovering joy

I realized the other day that I was robbed while looking the other way.  I was trundling along, and didn’t notice that little by little, my joy was being stolen from me.  Before I knew it, everything was a burden and a weighty responsibility, I was going around feeling depressed, weighed down by so many different situations that were frustrating or requiring patience.

I noted (complained) about it on my blog — about the fact that it suddenly occurred to me that it had been weeks, months, possibly a year since I had really had a good belly laugh, the kind that makes your stomach hurt and tears of laughter squirt out of the corners of your eyes. The kind of laughter that releases you from the cares of life and brings liberty, joy and hope again.  The kind of laughter that brings a higher perspective.

Actually it was probably only about six weeks since I had experienced that kind of laughter, but somehow my overall sense of humor had disappeared and I didn’t like it at all.

I got several pieces of advice from various friends, but the piece that shed the most light on my situation and what to do about it was a still, small thought that popped into my head, certainly not my own voice, as it was far wiser and more sage.  I had a sudden revelation that it wasn’t so much that I had been robbed, but that I had allowed myself to be robbed of joy.   By not doing anything to keep it, I had given permission for it to be taken away.  I thought of Phil 4:6 that says, “Do not be anxious about anything,” and without feeling in anyway condemned, I knew the truth — that I had allowed myself to be anxious and in doing so had thrown away the protection that I had been given.  Without being able to put a label on it, I also instinctively felt loved and felt a renewal of hope that joy was attainable again.

I suppose that without realizing it, I had slipped back into my old way of thinking that joy is something that just happens to you, something that depends on your circumstances and that you cannot hold on to or control.  It’s not the lesson that I’ve learned over the years.  I have learned through various experiences that joy needs to be administered like medicine, that it needs to be meditated upon regularly and that it is like a bank account into which you need to make regular and deliberate deposits so that when things do get tough, you have a reserve to call on. 

At one point in my life, I searched an online concordance and looked up five pages of verses on joy.  Each day, I read those verses, whether they meant anything to me or not, and slowly I came out of the panic stricken spiral of discouragement, despair and depression.  They were my lifeline. 

This is my testimony, my life experience’s witness.  Each person discovers an aspect of God’s truth for himself or herself at the time that God reveals it, as and when they need it.  My experience shows me that without a shadow of a doubt, God’s word has a very real physical effect on our minds, bodies, spirits and souls.  It’s a beautiful mystery.

And now, I have a new life experience and witness about joy.  It must be guarded or it will be targeted and stolen from you.  I resolve to be deliberate about it.  I resolve to make sure I relax more, to enjoy beauty more, to choose to cultivate friendships with those who uplift me and make me laugh, to make sure I laugh more, to rent more genuinely funny movies, to read more hilarious birthday cards, but most importantly to focus on the One who really counts and to take him at his word because his word is there for my protection, for my hope, for my joy.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus