I once had a love affair with Joy.
I loved her. Loved how she was so much deeper than just happiness. So independent of circumstance. I loved the way she whispered to me of hope and endless optimism.
A few years ago, I went to a writing conference and a passing comment turned into a mantra:
Prepare for the Joy that God is about to bring into your life.
I lived, and I believed that good things were coming.
But then I redefined that God, and He was no longer in the background, bringing anything into my life, really. No more puppet master.
And as those things washed away, I think the Joy did too. I still felt it, was still intimately acquainted with the feeling. But that word was like a rusted gear – it just didn’t feel quite right. And those Joyful experiences were missing a label.
But I have learned something.
When beliefs shift, when new chapters begin, choices must be made. We must choose which things to redeem, and what to let die, what to let go of entirely.
Joy, I want to redeem. To redefine, with new language and a new spirit. A new spirituality. To be thankful for the journey we’ve been on, and engage in where we’re going together.
This week, I was able to attend Rob Bell’s speaking tour, An Introduction to Joy. He spoke of many things that I want to continue exploring, but the way in which he spoke about Joy was not the “joy of the lord” that tightens my chest. It was a new, free joy that I think finally gave me a foundation to start again.
So this is just Part I. One might say, an introduction to Joy. More to come. Much, much more Joy to come.