I’m beginning to cycle into the “I refuse to turn on the computer” phase of my love/hate relationship with technology and thus did not attend the chat last eve. It’s no wonder, really. Twenty-three days into the 31 Days Challenge and staring at the screen for eight hours a day every time I’m at work does that. But it’s impossible to do this blogging thing without the keyboard and the interwebs. So, we press on.
Kate gives us: joy.
Joy is defined as a “feeling of great pleasure and happiness.”
That freaks us out.
For some reason we Christians have bought into the idea that pleasure and happiness are bad things. Or, if not exactly bad, they are suspect. Over and over we are told that happiness is related to circumstances and must not be an emotion we pursue. Because if we pursue happiness, then we are pursuing things that might be sinful. Because happiness and the desire for it is part of the sinful nature. We are told to instead ask the Lord to develop joy in us, a thing usually very poorly defined. But it sounds holy and righteous.
It’s hard to unpack all of the wrong thinking about this in five minutes.
Yes, the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). We can’t live our lives based on emotions. They don’t have brains. They don’t always appropriately correspond to the situation. We have to make choices based on what we know, rather than what we feel. For example, the wife who feels angry at her husband should not use that emotion as the rationale for cheating on him. She must filter that anger through what she knows to be true, through what God says.
At the same time, emotions aren’t evil. What we do with them certainly can be, but feelings like anger and sadness and surprise aren’t sinful. They just are. They just exist, built into us by a God who knows what He is doing.
So it’s okay to want to be happy.
Life is tough. There are days when you’ve got to put on your helmet and just plow through. It’s not going to be all puppies and rainbows. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. You are going to cry. You are going to get mad.
But you’re also going to be throw-your-head-back-and-belly-laugh happy. It is just as good and right to smile with the Lord and enjoy the pleasure of His company as it is to pour out supplications and frustrations before Him. You aren’t immature or unspiritual when you do so. You aren’t outside the bounds of orthodoxy.
The fact that God deigned to save us and then took it deeper and came to live in us should make us happy. It is a constant circumstance. A thing that never changes. It what we come back to the times of sorrow and screaming. He turns our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11). He is a blast. He has a great sense of humor. We are allowed to be happy because of Him.