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Remembering Joy!

This post is about ordinary things. You know the ones—the things we overlook as not important, tiny happy or nagging events that fill up our daily lives. Things like Worries. and Joy. and Overdue Support Letters.

By the time I finally sent out the first group of my support letters a few weeks ago, it was way past the day I had wanted to do so. The process had taken longer than I expected, from actually writing the letter to tracking down addresses. I found, too, that asking for support is not exactly flattering to my pride. Also, I realized at the last minute that the neat list of bulleted items in my letter had been messed up before I printed them, leaving a format (or almost-format) that would drive an OCD person crazy. It was either send the imperfect letters or wait until I got more stationary…and envelopes…and time…and…you get the idea. My practical side won out and I mailed them. (On a side note, the perfectionist in me almost had a heart attack, but since then has been maliciously comforted in knowing that my fellow perfectionists who get those letters will be unhappy, too! 😉 )

On top of the deal with the letters, that week was just plain hard for me. Different circumstances kept snatching my attention and then keeping it, a burden with stubborn resistance toward all attempts to get rid of it. I didn’t start to get out of my slump until I had an honest conversation with my mom about everything worrying me.
In essence, she reminded me that just because something is hard doesn’t mean it isn’t good.
God, the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), wants us to have joy–in every circumstance. I’ve been learning that this is not so much a command as a promise. He fills our lives with good things–he gave me a chance to pursue a degree, to build incredible friendships, to go on a mission trip that I’ve been waiting for for years. These are good things that He deserves my thanks for, not my incessant worried prayers. Yes, He wants us to be honest with Him, but I think He wants us to be honest with the faith of a child–not the distance of a stranger who demands more and more proof before believing His story.
Talking with my mom helped me remember that He doesn’t have to make every bit of my life peaceful before I can choose to find joy in the things He’s given me.
I don’t have to feel energized before an early morning class to fully appreciate the invention of travel mugs and my favorite tea. (Chai, anyone? 🙂 )
I don’t have to agree with everything my roommate believes before we can have a spontaneous afternoon where we wind up chasing the beautiful Kansas sunset and praising the Creator.
I don’t even have to send out perfect letters in order to get excited for the incredible things that God will do in and through me as I prepare to go to Kenya.
His joy is there, waiting for us to claim it.
–Hannah W, Team Kenya

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