Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Joy is the most elusive attribute I know, and I suspect not just for me, but for most of us. I mean real joy in life. Alive inside, more often than not, regardless of circumstance! A couple of months ago I read this quote from CS Lewis. "If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, we are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." To live with an ongoing sense of joy has to first mean we have come to terms with our sufferings, and have leant to embrace them as teachers and growers of our character. In my own ramblings with joy I’m discovering joy also requires some deliberate intention and effort. As much as I would like joy to flow naturally, it seems to have a nature that needs purpose, and goal. I don’t think CS Lewis meant ‘drink, sex and ambition’ are not common with joy, rather he meant discover these, and other pleasures, in a far deeper way. Rather than fool with them as though they can satisfy, find the source of joy and let it inspire and strengthen your life. So what is the source of joy? Methinks it is seeing God/being in God, that reduces your own sense of importance and entitlement, which allows you to live with a greater sense of freedom, spontaneity and generosity that would normally otherwise escape you. The source of joy is to really know your life is not all about you, but actually all about God and others. Isn’t this why Jesus repeatedly said we should die to ourselves? Joy is when we get ourselves and our own (often) petty agendas out of the way. Then we are free to love with joy. I honestly don’t believe it gets better than this!