Monday, May 16, 2016

When I forgot everything I have learned

I watched the sermon from last Mother's Day at my church, Eli has been sick and I'd missed hearing it in person. I sat in my kitchen as my kiddos played outside on the trampoline, and it made my house of cards of Sunday school right answers come tumbling down and twisted my spirit into a pretzel, that I have still not been able to make straight again. I have found myself questioning everything that I thought I knew. I've been in the church my entire life and still I'm asking myself: What is joy?  I know I have experienced in my life but how do you define it? I know it's different than happiness but how? I have always felt that joy was more like a surprise gift from my husband out of the blue for no special reason. But to go after it intentionally blows my mind. Even though I've been hearing about this literally my whole entire life still here I sit and ponder, completely tangled up in duty and delight and joy and trying to figure out how they all go together. How do I pursue joy in my duties? How do I delight in what I ought to do? How is it my duty to be joyful? And what in the world does that even really mean?

I spent some time this morning looking at verses about joy. I wrote them down in my notebook in various translations because that is what I do. I also borrowed a book from my friend, because providentially I signed up for a small group about joy. So expect to hear more about it this summer.

I've only read a few chapters from the book (it's called "Fight Back with Joy") but here are a couple of my favorite quotes so far:

"I assumed I could take joy lightly, capturing it in my free time like fireflies in a mason jar" 

Um, yes!! Me too!! I thought joy just showed up at the back door at the end of a good day and the whole I idea of pursuing joy with intention blows. my. mind. Like I'm hearing this for the first time. 

"We don't just sense joy; we embody it by how we respond to the circumstances before us."

I get this. I can vaguely see how I have lived this out in my life and watched others do the same.

Margaret Feinberg goes on to write that the source of our joy is the abiding sense of God's love for us and that our identity is beloved, joyful children of God. 

I woke up with that echoing between my mind and my heart - an abiding sense of God's love for me... my identity as a beloved joyful child of God. 

I'm still wrestling with the duty/delight thing. I've been hearing the message of duty & delight for nearly twenty years and I still struggle to wrap my mind around what it means on a regular Tuesday. But more about that tomorrow...

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