I was recently chatting with my father (a rare occasion – considering the fact that he’s a regular man of few words) and he asked me the following question: “Tegan, what brings you joy?”
If he had asked me that question two years ago, I probably would have said something like: “Harry Styles and Twitter.” My, how the times have changed, and boy, how I’m glad that they have.
There are a number of problems with finding my source of joy in a social media site or a young twenty-something boy-band superstar. For one, neither of them are essentially real parts of my life – Twitter is a fun thing to do with a computer and Harry Styles will forever be somewhere high up on a stage, unattainable by the mere human fans who worship his long curly locks and rock star tattoos. Secondly, they are not solid or reliable by any means – Twitter can crash and be removed from the internet in an instant, and Harry Styles could marry Kendall Jenner tomorrow and crush a million hearts in the process.
But, most importantly, neither of those things were designed to bring me joy – not true, lasting joy, at least.
What brings you joy?
To rejoice is simply: to celebrate. To laugh and dance and have a real good time. To possess an enjoyment that flows out and blossoms in all the areas of your life – in all the light and the shadows, in all the trials and the good times, in all the anxieties and despair that have so much power over our hearts and our behavior. It is still possible to have joy and rejoice even then.
Ever heard of King Solomon? History dubs him as “the wisest man who ever lived.” He wrote a book called Ecclesiastes (can be found in the Bible) which is all about the purpose of life, what are we supposed to do here; general YOLO type stuff. His observations (remember: wisest man who ever lived) are as follows:
“So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)
Now, he’s not telling us here to stuff our faces with all the food we can, down 50 shots, and then go ‘enjoy’ life in the way we are told to by Miley Cyrus’ music videos. He means we must enjoy it, truly – and we know that sometimes overindulging in our ‘celebration’ (whatever that may be) can very often take all the enjoyment out of it. It is possible to rejoice and have true enjoyment in things without allowing excess to let us get carried away.
Sometimes people forget that God is a joyful person, and that he created fun. All too often we see him as this great, far-away being who is very removed from the human experience. But I believe he created us, therefore he knows us intimately, and he created us to rejoice! He desires that we experience life to the full, and that we truly know the joy he offers us in this vast, exciting, challenging, amazing world. But what that joy means with God is very different to what the world says. It’s so much better.
So to answer my father’s question: People bring me joy. Friendships, family, surprisingly friendly and loving strangers, and the relationships I have formed in my church. Food brings me joy (a lot of joy). Music brings me joy. Dancing (although I’m not so sure it looks like dancing). Comedy. Reading. My boyfriend brings me joy (or at least he will, when I eventually find him).
But, my friend, none of those things are even close to the joy I find in God. The more I learn about God, the more I see his truth unfold in my life, the closer I get to him and the more I know about his love – that kind of true joy is unobtainable in what I’ve just mentioned above. It is some eternal thing, ungoverned by circumstance or feeling. It is a shining star, and every other source we get it from on earth is just bright dust below it.
So, what brings you joy? What do you always find yourself celebrating over? Maybe it’s Harry Styles. Maybe it’s something more. Whatever it is, I want to remind you that you haven’t been given this life by accident. There is a big reason to rejoice, and I encourage you to go out and find it. Why not click the pop-up or banner below.
Author: Tegan Lee O’Neill