Sunday, July 09, 2006


A wise friend recently advised me not to let my joy be stolen from me.

I thought that was very interesting advice. Puts the onus on me, yes, but not the way I would tend toward.

Scripture itself commands us to "Be joyful always," which I interpret to mean that joy cannot be tied to circumstance or opinion. Circumstances change, sometimes capriciously or randomly, sometimes not. Opinions waver as often as the moods of those who hold them. Joy must then be a transcendent thing, something that relies on more than that which I find in myself. Joy, then, can only reside with God... and my own joy correlates directly with my dependence upon God.

So the responsibility for joy does lie with me, but only so far as I am dying to my own desires to please other people, and instead making Godpleasing my sole aim.

Therefore, if something I do (or do not do) displeases you, whether I change depends completely upon whether it's something I actually do need to change or something you need to "get over."

Somewhere buried deep within me is this aggravating need for acceptance and approval. I'm accepted and approved of by God, but when I allow my gaze to wander onto people instead of onto God, I begin to build my self-worth upon their acceptance and approval of me... and consequently, when they fail to supply, I succumb to depression.

Learning to catch myself doing this -- and then re-training my sights onto God and his purposes for me -- is something I have had varying degrees of success with. Yet I press on. God is gracious and patient.

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