Boundaries. Fences. Borders. Sometimes these are used to keep things in and sometimes to keep things out. Over the past few days, we’ve been talking about our joy. We explored how to get it and where it comes from. But how do you keep it, once you have it? You’ve been spending time with the Lord, and you’re following His lead. You have peace inside, and all is well with your world. Then it happens. You know what I’m talking about…one little incident occurs, and it throws you off your joy game.
For me, that was this morning. I am convinced my dear husband has a radar for when I’ve brought in the last bag of grocery from the car before he shows up to ask “need any help?” I rose early this morning and went grocery shopping before 7 a.m. to get it in before church so that I could have some rest time this afternoon. Per usual, the bags were hauled in from the car along with breakfast I had picked up from a local bakery on the way home and no sign of dear husband. Under my breath, I started fuming saying “I know he hears me going in and out of the garage and plopping these bags on the counter, why doesn’t he come help me?” Then I heard God tap me on the shoulder and whisper, “what happened to that joy you had?”
I almost let a grumbling and mumbling attitude make me lose my joy. That’s the thing about attitude; it’s something we have complete control over yet often we let it take the lead. However, when you have set your heart on trying to act more with those characteristics of the fruit of the spirit discussed in an earlier post, the Holy Spirit will remind you that you have options.
The Holy Spirit gently reminded me that dear husband had worked in the yard all day on Saturday pulling weeds out of the garden areas while I was able to have some much-needed girlfriend time. It occurred to me that in this sense, I needed a border or fence around me to keep the joy in and not let irritants try to penetrate my imaginary joy force field around me. Fred Hammond’s song “Jesus Be a Fence” came to mind, especially when he sings about protection. Yes, we even need protection from those negative thoughts that we might let poke through our joy fence.
Yet, fences also need to have a gate to let things out. We have to be careful too with people who might come across a little sour. Sometimes we just don’t know what people have going on or what might be a trigger. It would be easy to return a clap back (snappy comeback) and leave that person with their sour mood. Or we can choose to open our fence and let some of our joy rush out and pour over them. Romans 15:13 says we are overflowing with hope because of our joy.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The next time that friend or co-worker seems a little bit out-or-sorts, don’t take it personally. Respond with joy. That same thief that comes to steal and kill in John 10:10 is okay with robbing you of your joy, thereby also limiting your ability to share it. Remember others may not have been on a journey to joy, but you have. We can share it with one just act of kindness to turn them around and start them on their own journey to joy.