I Have No Joy.
I have a friend who has been given the gift of joy. He’s always smiling and hollering and making the best out of every situation. This guy really knows how to celebrate. If he ever sees you doing something good, you better block off at least 30 minutes in your calendar for him to congratulate and praise you. His compliments make you uncomfortable. His hugs are far too long. He laughs too loud. He’s never met a stranger, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like him. There is no doubt that he has the joy of the Lord.
And he really pisses me off.
I don’t understand how he can smile all the time, especially when I know some of the hard things he has been through. How can anyone find the good in life when things continually don’t go your way? I understand celebrating the good things in life, but there is a lot to get done, and I don’t have time to celebrate every single little achievement. It baffles me that he takes time out of his schedule to make a stranger on the street feel loved. Where are his priorities? I don’t understand how he can treat those who disrespect him with honor. He’s just setting himself up to get hurt again.
I just don’t understand him.
One day, I was watching a video on my friend’s social media account. He was taking a run around the block in the rain and saying something like “What a great day to be alive? Isn’t God good?” It was really over the top. Upon seeing this, I rolled my eyes and said thought to myself “He is so annoying. He needs to calm down with all these videos. He looks ridiculous.”
That’s when the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks. The Helper put this thought in my mind, “Are you too good to learn about the joy of the Lord from your friend? Are you too important to laugh a little?”
That’s when it hit me. Perhaps the Lord was telling me something through my friend’s actions. Maybe he was gently showing me that I have no joy.
I used to belly laugh at least a couple times a week. I hadn’t done that in months. How had I become so serious?
There was a time in my life when I would stroll around town with a smile on my face, engaging people in authentic conversation. Now I am in such a hurry to get things done. It seems like there are more things to do than hours in a day. Can’t people tell that I’m busy?
Letting transgressions slide off my back was once commonplace in my life. Nowadays, I find myself being offended by people who do the slightest wrong to me. Don’t they know who I am?
Maybe I never said it, but the vibe I was giving off was, “I’m all business. I am so busy. I am important and have a lot of responsibility. Don’t you dare bother me.”
Somewhere along the way, the adult version of me had leaned over the kid in me, put him in timeout, and told him not to make a sound as he wagged his finger at me. I was appalled at who I had become.
My friend has shown me a new way to live, but he wasn’t the first one to live this way. The Bible doesn’t mince words when it comes to joy.
God’s Word is very clear that the joy is a good thing. It tells us to rejoice in the Lord often and a joyful heart is good medicine. The Gospel of John says that the Lord wants his joy inside of me, and he wants my joy to be complete. Joy is listed as a fruit of the Spirit and something we should desire to be filled with.
I’ve had enough of super serious adult me. Life is too short not to laugh. I’m making it a point to focus on the good in life instead of the bad. I’m zeroing in on thanksgiving and praise instead of gossiping and corrupt talk. I’m starting a mission to laugh more and to make time for things that bring me joy. More basketball and guy’s nights and fewer emails and news articles. My desire is to be approachable, despite what my to-do list looks like. Here’s to calling someone and asking them to hang out, not because I want something from them but because I actually care about them. My job is to believe the best about every situation, person, and word instead of assuming the worst. I want to be more like my friend and more like my children. I want to live life to the fullest and encourage others to do the same. Bottom line, I want to change. I want to be full of joy and grace. I want to have time for people and make them feel important. I want to seek the positive and put aside the negative. What it comes down to is this: I want to be more like Jesus. I want as much of him as I can get. After all, the joy of the Lord is my strength.
Thanks Zach for your words. See more of his work here, https://medium.com/@zachgarza.