Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interrupting Joy

Sometimes all I have are little pieces, shards, of joy that pierce otherwise too full days. 
Some days, the ones filled with hurt and loneliness, days when it’s easier to burrow into the down comforter than it is to engage, these are the days when joy seems to be ever dancing around the edges.  Peeping in through the cracks.  Distant, not daring to intrude on self-imposed solitude.

See the original, by artist Julie MacMilon, on her website here

But it’s still there.  I just have to open up.  Give it some space.  Let it take just the smallest bit of my time.
Joy is always waiting to be let in.

An e-mail, from an acquaintance-turned-heart-hewn-friend, because that’s what months of daily prayers will do, of thanks.  One that reminds me my God is a God of wonders and miracles.  One that simply says, the pajamas finally fit.  And like that, awe erupts, singing; like a flock of birds set to soar on dawn’s breaking. 
Or an article, sent by hands more recently stilled by illness and too much alone-ness.  To remind me, that in spite of my propensity to wound and fail, there is a God-time that outweighs my daily paces.  I laugh; lightness enters my grave-rut of failures.  And I can climb back out again.
A journal of volleyed queries and ink whispered i-love-you’s etched on hearts too tiny to know real breaking.  Space to capture what washes on the shores of my soul.  And the gospel, tucked so neatly into it all.  A reminder that I have not yet arrived.  That the tender mercies will be new again on the morrow.
Falling snow, telling me that I am heard.  I am listened to, even when my sins overcome me, and evil has won yet again.  I am still beloved. 
I can still inhabit joy. 
Because the intimacy I ache for, that we all ache for, is waiting to be found in Jesus.  Joy is found in knowing, and the being known by, Christ.  He is the author of these moments, these eternities shrouded in temporal pursuits. 
Pause.  Breathe him in.  Soak up his presence.  And let joy surprise, interrupt the paces of your heart. 

Another original work by Julie McMillon, found at her esty shop here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chasing Joy

The new year is all about what we want to change, isn’t it?  It’s a time for taking stock and becoming aware of what’s lacking in our lives.
Coming off of a semester of reclaiming my Awesome (albeit a life-long endeavor to maintain), I was a little leery of looking too long for what’s missing.  Though, after rumination I came upon what I want:
Not to fill an empty space in my life with yet another program or activity or goal.  Instead, I want to strip away all of those and to run hard and fast after what’s truly meaningful.  I want Joy. 
Abounding, uncensored,
 riotous, alluring,
                unadulterated, transforming,
Because my time, and yours dear one, is too fleeting upon this blue mot to fritter away a joyless existence.  Each moment holds such potential for it.  Even the ones so infused with pain they crush all but the glimmer of hope.  Because joy isn’t the hapless smile slapped on your face the moment the church’s threshold is breached.  It isn’t the giddy ecstasy bounding out of wedding vows.  It is the abiding, sustaining undercurrent of life, if in Christ we reside daily.  If through Christ we absorb the pure source of joy. 

So this year, I have resolved not to chase after the wind.  I will chase joy.  I will dwell in it.  I will bring it with me into the world that is in such need of it.  I will gladly share it with anyone I might.  This year, I will write about joy: how I find it, where it leads me, who it calls to me, and to whom I am called because of it.  I will write about what steals it, how to fight for it, from where it can be drawn.  And why it is so vitally important.  Granted, I will write all of this as: me.  I can give no perspective other than this, as it should be.  And I want to encourage you to consider these things as only you can.  Let me know what you learn along the way.  Join me, friend, in abiding in joy.      

This year, I purpose to seek joy.  I purpose to fight for joy.  I purpose to allow joy to embody me, especially when circumstances dictate otherwise.  In this endeavor, I purpose to be true to my emotions, because joy isn’t a fleeting feeling; it is a state of being. 
I pray this journey changes me.  That at the end of this year I can turn back and see a more joy-filled path carved from my current one.  I pray that joy abounds in and through me.
In 2012, I will Chase Joy.      

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ears to hear

It all comes down to this:
Who are you listening to?
Your Awesome is inherent.  It’s an heirloom, a birthright;  in your DNA, it is your identity.  Regardless of your religious/political/ideological standpoint, God created you.   He fashioned you to be beautiful.  He puts great stock in you.  You are delighted in, loved.  By the Architect of the universe.  The Author of time.  The Developer of joy; the Painter of beauty.  By Love itself. 
When you don’t feel awesome, when you have long forgotten what your awesome feels like, or you aren’t even certain if you ever had it, the question remains: to whom are you listening?
Because anything or anyone that tells you otherwise, is lying.  Pants-on-fire lying.  To believe that you are anything other than completely and fully Awesome, is to be deceived.   And you, my dear, are entirely too smart to be deceived.   
Which means that to end the deception, you must bathe yourself in Truth.  Compare the lies, from the media, from loved ones, from your own head, to God’s Word.  Hold a Christ-mirror up to your face and see if you can find ugly, or stupid, or fat, or nagging, or bossy, or mousy, or too emotional, too needy, too much/not enough therein.  Viewing yourself through the lens of Christ’s atonement, you won’t find anything but your Awesome there.  You.  The way you were designed.  The you, you were meant to be.    

Remember who you are.  Resolve to abandon the grave of lies, to flee the desolation of deception.  Purpose to walk in Truth, in the light of God’s love. 
And when you do this, you become a champion to the depraved, hope to the lost, warrior for the oppressed, and hero to the captive.  And your Awesome will shine with the radiance of a million stars.

And that, dear one, is purely Awesome.