When Mike and I were still dating, it was easy enough to be all fun. That’s what teenagers are suppose to do. We went skating. I giggled. We ate dinner. I giggled. He showed off his flashy violin skills. I giggled. He called me. I giggled. He tickled me. I giggled.
Simple. Normal teenage stuff.
Fast forward fifteen years….. stress, babies, work, financial strain…. it isn’t quite the same rosy picture anymore.
Recently, we visited alot of churches- but one pastor said something that stung my heart a little.
He said that the church would be helping with a community event. And he encouraged people to wear their church t- shirts. Why? Not as a plug for the church or to identify helpers. But to let people see Christians having fun. So that others could see the joy that we have out of God’s blessing. Life is to be enjoyed. God is to be enjoyed.
Hmmm. It’s not anything I haven’t heard before. John Pipers words have followed me around. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
But that’s not the picture of God in my head.
Imagine that traditional portrait of Jesus. You know the one. I think the intention is to portray a Savior worthy of respect. But it also looks so sad, serious, worn…. and completely bored.
And for a long time, I didn’t even realize that was how I pictured God.
I guess I was just ready to hear it that Sunday morning at church. And I was convicted… In my heart, joy is practically sinful. Especially if I happen to be happy, too. I guess that’s what a lifetime of an internal war against panic and anxiety will do to a person. It slowly eroded the joy out of me.
But praise God – He doesn’t leave me there. As I slowly discover my completely depraved spirit, I also uncover more and more of God’s grace, love, and joy.
And it is wonderful.
My joy is beyond myself.
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11 NKJV