Life gets so heavy.
Some days, most days, it can feel beyond what I can physically carry.
It’s not one thing that looms large over my day. It’s all the tiny things added up that can make me feel just a bit woozy: Motherhood, Wifehood, Careerhood. All the Hoods need all the attention and I just want to breathe.
So intentionally, I invite Joy.
For me, Joy takes the shape of classy leggings, adorable coffee mugs, and fun socks. They are the objects that make me smile and catch me off guard in a very good way – they help to steady me.
Take my leggings for example:
They remind me to be brave and honest and out there. A lot of my wardrobe fluctuates within the ranges of blues/grays/purples. Cloudy hidden colors. Not bad but definitely not extravagant. I reach for these when I need to be reminded of what my authenticity looks like – what it means to be me.
Then there are my unicorn socks – or as my daughter spells it – uneycorn!
What could be possibly be impossible when you’re wearing these babies?
As the Queen said in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:
Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Believing in the impossible moves my heart forward, even if it’s believing in unicorns residing in bananas.
And, for Mother’s Day, I requested a squirrel chair – because why would you not want a squirrel chair??
My frequent hashtag on Twitter now is #prayersForSquirrels because for weeks now, this distinguished chair has been placed specifically for Joy to enter my back porch but no visitors have shown themselves. (If you have any advice on how to attract squirrels, I would greatly appreciate it.)
Have you ever seen the episode of Seinfeld where George discovers the power of the Opposite – In this scene he realizes that his instincts have brought him where he is and that his only rescue is to do the opposite of whatever his instinct tells him in any given moment.
This is kind of like that.
There is more to what’s possible or true than what our inner life and past experiences have told us.
Often, I wake up feeling insecure, a little scared, somewhat overwhelmed, and at times lonely and for the longest time, I spent enormous amounts of energy trying to chase those feelings away.
It didn’t work.
For me, they don’t typically go away. They sit, like little children: Legs crossed paired with frowny faces and furrowed eyebrows. They want to KNOW that everything will be okay. But, interestingly enough, nothing will convince them.
So, I put on my George. I do the opposite. I pat each one on the head and kiss their chubby cheeks and I tell them that it will be okay and I do what I need to do anyway. But, on my own strength, I can’t do it.
I need Joy to help me.
Nehemiah prescribed the same to the people of Israel when revealing a revelation to the nations:
He continued, “Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!”
God is joyful. Over us, over the world he’s redeeming, over his plans, over the life that he breathes in us and that we breathe into others. There is a joy that permeates everything. To join into the Joy gives us the strength to do what we need to do, to take on the revelations of God, to carry the gifts of God, to lighten the burdens of another.
When is it easier for you to change what’s around you? When you are all twisted up in confusion and despair, or when you have joy?
And, trust me, this is not about making yourself be happy because God and I said so. Screw that. Anytime anyone throws that my way, I want to throw their breakfast in their face.
What I’m talking about is using Joy as a piece of armor – a reminder that this is not all there is. There is a coming kingdom and it is more glorious, more joyous, more fun, and fantastic that I ever can imagine or will imagine.
Joy saves my heart.
His joy saves me.
So, I bring a bit of the Kingdom here.
Who says there won’t be unicorns popping out of bananas in Heaven?
I’d like to peel one when I get there…
just to see.