Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Unfabricated Emotional Calling of Every Christian

Joy, that type of indescribable, strong-willed happiness which doesn't burn out. Joy doesn't falter with circumstances, rest with contingencies or depend on other people. Joy comes from the Creator and Keeper of joy. But the beauty bursts forth when we understand and accept that He doesn't want to hold it for himself. God isn't selfish. He longs to pour it out and over and in us, His created.

This being the third week of Advent, and joy being a touchy subject for me, it only makes sense that I would read and research and listen to what He puts before me.
Hope, I get. Perspective, isn't it? Understanding, isn't it? Great anticipation.
Peace, yes. I know it. I feel it. I can hold it and rest in it.
Love. Don't always acknowledge and feel it like I should, but I am trying to absorb it.

But joy?
That little three-letter word has felt elusive to me. Like a vapor you can't see or touch or ever hold onto.
People don't readily see it in my life. I'm too serious. Too angry too often. Too sensitive about being understood. Too passionate about things that really don't matter. Too judgmental of myself and my life and too quick to disappointment.
And joy? Isn't that something fragile? Something gifted to you that you fumble with but always eventually drop because who can really protect it?

And then I watched this video and Ann, sweet sister, reminds me that joy isn't something you clasp, for it is a flame--a bright powerful light--but it needs oxygen. And we must hold our hands open and not clasp them in anger.

Anger, the antithesis of joy.  But she says the antithesis of joy is disbelief, a cynicism, a snide, sarcastic and pessimistic response. And my heart aches because I keep hearing that idea. And I'm pricked. I fall into that trench.

Is my heart shadowed by anger, God? I already know the answer and yet I am incapable of cleaning house myself. I don't possess the agent abrasive enough to scour the scum. Immediately, my fix-it mode vamps up and says, "we can figure this out though." But I can't; I know I'm incapable.

Joy comes from the Father, but we help cultivate it when we worship. And worship comes from a secure place of peace, understanding my place with Him and knowing His deep love.  That deep love and security floods over the muck of anger, washing it away.

So really, we can't isolate the blessings of Advent.
They are the intertwined fingers of grace. This peace comes from hope that comes from love that gives us excessive joy.  OH, how I long for that!

When my joy feels squelched, I ask him to unclench my hands and help me back to the place of purity. What do I think I need? What do I really need? My hands start to feel the rough tree of the cross and am I getting it little by little. Again, I need to hear it.
 I love you, do you understand? I love you. Do you see? 

And nerves set in and I feel jittery and cold and helpless, shivering here on this couch. Will I ever get it, Lord? Why is my skin so thick and unwilling to absorb this? Why can't I just soak in your love and warmth? I don't deserve it. So I say. So you say too, but you give it anyway. And I've received. I've opened. But have I taken this gift out of the box. Do I wear it as a garment? I am naked and cold without it. I am bare when I refuse to accept that which I don't deserve but desperately need. I am so dependent on His love. So utterly dependent.

Lord, hear this desperate cry. I want to hold onto you. Help me to understand that clinging to you means letting go of all else and unclasping my hands and reaching upward with not only Hope for the future, but Joy in this moment because your Love is more than sufficient for me then, for me now. In this moment. When I am weak.
And Peace, Joy, Hope, Love--this beautiful braid of His grace come down to us, living within us, helping us step forward on this foreign soil till we make it Home.

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