One of the things I love about my husband is his sense of fun. He has been known to do a strange high kicking dance down the super market aisles with the trolley, laugh until he is rolling on the floor with tears pouring down his face, and to liven up a prayer meeting by grabbing people and dancing around the room with them.
He has an innate ability to bounce back from knock backs and disappointments while always coming out smiling. He says we can all get too serious, and that God is far more fun than we give Him credit for.
In the bible, joy, dancing, singing, music, celebrating, and eating, are referred to many times. Jesus was in fact criticised by the religious leaders for being a drunkard and a glutton for the amount of time he spent celebrating with others. Jesus was neither a drunk or a glutton, but the religious people of the day didn’t like how much fun and joy surrounded Jesus, or how popular he was.
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Matthew 11:29)
Sometimes life gets a little rough, and we all need a bit of joy in our lives. People often focus on all the warnings that come from the Bible, on how to live or not live our lives. However, we can forget that the Bible also tells us to enjoy life and to open our hearts to joy. God did not mean for us to be sad or serious all the time. He tells us to have fun and embrace joy.
The thing to remember is that joy sometimes comes from the really big things, and sometimes just a small thing like a kind word or a helping hand. It can be experienced in having our favourite things to eat, having people over, watching a movie, enjoying the scenery, having an adventure, or simply turning up the stereo really loud and dancing around the room. Sometimes we just need to do something that makes us know we are alive, and that our heart is actually beating, instead of just going through the “hum drum” of everyday life.
Joy is powerful. It lifts our spirits and brings healing to our hearts, minds and bodies. It’s worth opening our hearts to, and honouring and seeking out. Counsellors advise one of the steps to help to alleviate the symptoms of depression is to ensure people do something everyday that they enjoy – just because!
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
God made us wired for joy, and gave each of us an immense capacity for love and joyfulness. He is a happy God, who overflows our “cup” if we will allow Him to. Often what steals our lightheartedness, and sense of fun and joy is that we are trying to live independent from God, and do things in our own strength and wisdom. We allow the world and it’s cares and concerns to crowd out the promises of God, believing the negative voices instead of what God says. Even when really difficult times of loss and heartache may happen, God promises He will be there for us, and pour His strength, joy and a peace that goes beyond human understanding into our lives.
“The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Today, don’t take the gift that God’s joy is for granted. It is in both the great moments of our lives, and the hard ones, that joy has it’s vital role. It adds to every good moment, and helps us through the toughest times.
Lighten your load, and the joy stealers in your life, and give your cares and concerns to Jesus. He cares for you, and promises that He will turn your mourning into dancing and your sorrow into joy.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy”. (Psalm 30:11)
“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared…Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)