I was eating chocolate, wiggling around, singing out loud, and beaming early that morning. A simple answered prayer had me celebrating with the Lord, bursting with joy.
Eventually my routine brought me to social media, a place where I delight in encouraging others in the Lord. Guess where my makes-me-want-to-shout joy went? Tail between its legs back into my time alone with God.
My instinct was to hide my joy.
Scrolling through online feeds, I see I’m not the only one.
We’re fine to post smiling pictures, occasional things we’re thankful for, and humorous videos. But when we share something personal or something encouraging, we tend to be careful to talk about struggle. I’m not even sure we know how to point others to praise without first acknowledging that circumstances might be bad and we all doubt/wrestle/have our hard stuff.
To be honest, I think as we offer hope, peace, and even tepid joy, we feel like we have to apologize for it.
Like we have to say “I know everything stinks and we’re all living hurt, but since joy is necessary and good here’s a bit of salve. Sorry it stings! Sorry it burns! Hope it feels better now.”
There’s a place for that. There’s a need for it.
But there’s also a place and a need for abundant, unapologetic joy:
The kind David displayed when he danced to his wife’s embarrassment, saying that for the joy of the Lord, he’d get even more undignified. The kind described when God gave great victories to Israel or His people returned to worshipping Him again. The kind we see when Paul speaks with jubilance about the Lord while in chains. Definitely the kind we read about in Revelation that we look forward to in the future.
Why do we hide joy? Because joy is vulnerable.Sometimes we’re more protective of our joy than we are of our hurts. Click To Tweet
- We don’t want to offend those who aren’t feeling it.
- We don’t want to get hurt if others don’t share in our joy.
- We don’t want to be too worked up in case hurt or hardship follows quickly.
- We don’t want to act undignified since joyful expression in our culture is laced with cynicism.
Looking over those reasons, hiding our joy seems….selfish. Fearful. Silly for people whose joy -given by God himself- is their strength!
Feeling like we need to break a social rule and apologize if we rejoice in the Lord’s goodness publicly seems…petty.
As I thought back on that joyful morning kept quietly to myself, it occurred to me that when we who are believers hide our joy, we’re more than just petty, silly, or selfish. We’re robbing others of joy.
Like all good gifts, the joy God gives us is for His glory. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit! It’s intended for investing, sharing, spreading, strengthening, upbuilding, and inviting to praise. How foolish we are when we apologize for such a wonderful thing!
What do you think? Do you hide joy? How can you wield your God-given joy to His glory?
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