Stop Apologizing for Your Joy

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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19 Replies to “Stop Apologizing for Your Joy

  1. You are so right about this! It’s strange how far the pendulum swings. The very things we should rejoice about we buffer with apologies and justification. Joy is good and from God. The more we can rejoice with Him and one another the more we will experience JOY!

    1. Isn’t it odd, Becky? I’ve been noticing a tenous relationship with joy more and more in our culture, including in the church and in my life. Lord, help us call your good gifts good!

  2. I think I used to hide my joy more than I do now. I am probably more guilty of throwing a figurative bucket of ice water on someone else’s joy if I’ve been awake for less than an hour in the morning. I guess I need to work on that, huh?

    1. Haha I love it. Yeah, I also need to ask the Lord to help me with ice-bucket-throwing that comes with certain moods or times of day!

  3. I so agree. I’ve been guilty of hiding my joy for all the reasons you listed. I plan on reminding myself of your words the next time I have a mind to hide my joy! – “Intended for investing, sharing, spreading, strengthening, up-building, and inviting to praise. How foolish we are when we apologize for such a wonderful thing!” Thank you for the encouragement!

    1. Thank you Robin! I pray the Lord helps us both recall quickly how foolish it is hide joy so we start rightly praising Him with it : )

  4. This is so good and true. I admit there have been times when I’ve felt guilty for having joy or something to celebrate so I don’t always share it but instead keep it to myself which is something God has been working with me on to share the joy with others. So basically he’s been teaching me to not hide the light he’s given me but let it shine especially with starting my new blog. So thanks for sharing this post I loved it.

  5. This post makes me want to shout for joy, Bethany. Seriously … yes to all of it!! Life is too short and too unpredictable not to relish the joys of the day, the hours, the minutes. Chocolate, good news, a beautiful flower, a delicious meal, the perfect verse on a hard morning, an encouraging card from a friend (thanks for that, by the way) … thank you for this post! 🙂

  6. Oh yes, I know that I have a tendency to hide joy–or at least downplay it. Why do we feel the need to hide when God has blessed us or done the imaginable? I wonder this too! This is good post and hopefully I will remember it when I feel tempted to keep His goodness to myself!

    1. Hopefully I’ll remember it too, Melissa! I can only guess at why we do it- I just notice that we do!

  7. Sometimes I hide my joy in church during worship because the people in my church don’t show their emotions much. Maybe if I start, others will start, too!

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