Thoughts on Joy (inspired by a 5 year old)

Her exclamation made me smile. She was so happy and so exuberant that the only way this 5-year-old could express the feeling was to say “I’m shaking with joy!” But how many of us aren’t like her at all. We are just waiting around…just waiting and trudging…and hoping for some form of joy to hit us like a lightening bolt?

I’ve waited around plenty, and yet the entire last year of my life has taught me that you don’t wait for joy to come to you, you KNOW God and joy inevitably comes. You don’t feel joy, so much as you know Joy…because you know God.

I know, I know I’ve shared that a thousand times. I feel like I’ve been a merri-go-round on my blog. I’m trying to be okay with that, but sometimes it’s hard to confidently continue sharing the things that have taken me a year+ to learn. But as silly as it sounds, I’m swallowing my fear and sharing about joy again…

Because as my knowledge of God builds, my joy builds too…for all of this life right here. The soundtrack playing in the background is a broken record named Healing, Grace, & Forgiveness. It’s so beautiful, and it just keeps going and going and going.

My mind wanders, though. I seek after God, but can God really satisfy? I run after Him, but why do I still feel this way? I get irritable and impatient. I know the way to Rest, but it’s easier and (in the moment) pleasurable to let my heart run away with itself in all its worry and heartache.

But the wonder of drawing near to God is that He draws near to you. So even when you are flailing and drowning, you reach out your hand…and He’s there walking on water. Coming for you. And He just keeps pulling out of your despair.

You finally begin to SEE who God is, and the running after Him becomes less about what He can do for you, and more about wanting to know who He is. Joy starts flooding your soul and seeping into your everyday life when life is about knowing God, not getting things from God.

Joy breaks in when you stop asking the questions that burn your heart like a forrest fire. Why this? How much longer? How much more? What does this even mean? And instead you start asking, who are You? Who are You? Who are You? I want to know You.

It isn’t wrong to ask why, to be confused, to grieve, to wonder, to cry, but when you know God the questions that burn your heart won’t matter as much anymore, because you will bear the grief with His comfort, and your tears won’t feel empty and pointless.

God is the Giver of Joy. You can’t know Joy if you don’t know the Giver. And knowing the Giver is life abundant. Even when this life abundant is hard and nothing like you’d thought it’d be.

So while excitement bubbled over in this young 5 year old, all she could say was “I’m shaking with joy.” 

Simple words powerfully put.

You know something? I have life with God. I watch as He pours grace into heart chasms and beauty into the wilderness. He takes up all my broken pieces, and while I still have no answers to why, He gives Hope and He is Love…so I trust.

I walk into February with the same old raggedy holes in my heart, but they are filled to overflowing with the joy of who God is. And He is so much more than enough. I am gratitude-filled and overwhelmed in the split instant of an ordinary moment.

So, I’ve been thinking-

maybe I’m shaking with joy too.

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