Openness to Joy
Posted by JILL SIMONS
In preparing for the summit next weekend, (grab your free ticket here if you haven’t yet!) I got to chat with every single speaker.
And something unexpected happened: chatting with all these women fundamentally shifted the way that I approach the pursuit of joy.
Now, there’s a lot of semantics that gets messy here. Different people don’t always mean the same things when they use the same words. When Marie Kondo is talking about joy she means something different than what I mean when I’m talking about joy. It’s also common to hear different people use phrases that seem totally contradictory when talking about the pursuit of joy. We are told at the same time to actively go after joy while also being told to simply accept the joy that God has already poured out in us. And then we’re also told that joy is a hallmark of a Christian life as a fruit of the spirit, so if we don’t have joy there seems to be some kind of judgment attached to that.
You see where this gets pretty messy?
A large part of my hope in talking so much and so often about joy is to disambiguate some of these confusing messages that don’t seem to fully mesh together. As with so many things, I think there’s truth in each of these viewpoints but it has to get stacked together in the correct way for it to make sense cohesively.
So here’s a framework that I think is helpful:
- God has an endless hose full of joy ready to pour into us.
- It’s always on, always pouring out, because we know that God is eternal and can’t be doing something one minute and not doing it the next.
- So what changes in this equation?
I like to think about that hose pouring into us, but how we are able to receive and retain what pours out is based on our shape, if you will - the way we have been formed.
Think about the difference between pouring water onto a flat plate versus into a bowl. One will retain the water and one largely will not.
And that’s why I firmly believe that our part of the equation is intentionally seeking to be formed into more of a bowl and less of a plate. We do that through prayer, absolutely, because we know that’s a powerful way that God changes us, but we also do it through
- Pursuit of virtue in our everyday lives.
- Intentionally being grateful.
- Practicing forgiveness.
- Learning to slow, or even hopefully stop, the constant stream of negativity towards ourselves and our circumstances that makes up our daily soundtrack in our head.
This is the balance of seeking and receiving joy. We are receptive because we know and believe that the hose is pouring out for us right where we are, but we are also seeking to better shape ourselves to receive what’s right there for us.
And that’s what this upcoming summit is all about. The women who share throughout the course of the weekend about concrete ways that they have nurtured greater joy have so much wisdom to share.
If you feel like you could use a little bit of time dedicated to forming your bowl, join us next weekend. I would love to see you there.
P.S. Have you caught our brand new podcast and YouTube show? Bet you’ll never guess what it’s all about 😬🤣 In today’s episode I chat with Greg Johnson about finding your zone of genius and doing meaningful work. Join us on YouTube here or on Spotify here!