Why are some people scared of joy? You know the type – the “When’s the other shoe going to drop?” people. The ones who say, “This is just too good to be true,” and they just can’t seem to fully enjoy their day. Ever.
When all is right in your world – the day where you score a pair of killer wedges on sale, get all caught up on your ironing, have money left over in the bank after paying bills, bake a mouth-watering butter pound cake – why do you look over your shoulder, afraid of what might happen? Why can’t some people enjoy the easy days instead of being scared of any possible future bad ones?
At times I’ve felt this way. It’s as though I feel guilty for having joy – guilty joy. Guilty for my life being pain-free for a while as I watch others suffer immense pain – mentally, physically, spiritually. I walk my dog while a friend lies in the bed with cancer. I watch my son play golf while another child is confined to a wheelchair. What gives me the right to be joyful while others suffer?
But you see if I give in to the fear that something bad lurks around the corner I give in to a spirit that is clearly not from God, but from the enemy. He wants us to be fearful of what could happen. He wants to rob us of joy. He wants us weighted down by unnecessary guilt. He wants us to be so wound up with the what-ifs that we miss the blessings of today, of this very minute.
This excerpt from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp helped me through my struggle with “guilty joy” while others are suffering:
“Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.”
Oh how true this is. Feeling guilty about having joy does not benefit those who are suffering – it just creates 2 miserable people instead of 1. Being the Light of Joy to people who are suffering is the best way to show what Jesus means to you. And I don’t mean be obnoxious, in your face, my life is better than your life kind of a fool or the “I know how you feel” fake sympathy kind. I’m talking about a compassionate, caring, listening, praying kind of light that is so desperately needed in this world today.
Think about it this way: when you are walking through a difficult time in your life do you want someone next to you complaining about how bad they have it, patting you on the arm while giving you the bland, “It’s God’s will,” or do you want someone who will listen to you, love on you and rekindle the flame of joy in your heart?
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds an praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
The world can be a dark and lonely place. Don’t hide your light from those who are suffering – let your light of joy shine brightly, illuminating Jesus in all circumstances.
Blessings for a wonderful weekend!
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