Confession: I’ve written approximately 8 drafts trying to share what I want to share today. One was rather eloquent. One shared a poignant story. One was filled with Bible proof and conclusions. One confused even me. One painted a rather personal portrait. And none of them passed my pray-before-hitting-publish-to-get-the-final-approval test. Not one.
I think I’m trying too hard.
Would you mind if I just share it with you like we were sitting down together in a coffee shop? I just ordered a chai tea latte skim, small, and you ordered something much fancier than that. After some small chit-chat, you lean in, look me square in the eyes and say, “So, tell me what’s on your heart? How are you?”
My shoulders sit back, alarmed at how well you see me (even though it was a fairly basic question for a good friend to ask). Because I can sense your heart and know how you’ll treat mine, I breathe in deep. And tell you everything the rest of this post reveals.
Something I read recently will not leave me. It didn’t hit me right away — I didn’t even write it down. I do know it was in Brennan Manning’s book All is Grace. But I’ll have to ask for grace, because I cannot quote it exactly.
What I remember of it is:
Joy is what happens when we let go…
It is indeed our true natural state
and like everything, joy is a gift.
My mind keeps saying “Joy happens…it’s natural…a gift” over and over again.
At first I was trying to figure out what happened. When my normalcy changed. When I began grasping for joy instead of simply receiving it as His gift. After praying about it I now see what step I was skipping over.
You see, friend, I like to think I do this easy. I’m quick to forgive. I don’t harbor ill feelings of anyone. You might remember all that I let go over Easter this year. I honestly thought I was doing good in this area.
I was wrong.
This is where I would take a sip of my steamy chai and try to regain my composure. Pull my thoughts together as you ever so politely ask me to continue with
“What do you think you need to let go of?”
Myself. I’m clinging too tightly to…me. My need to control. The love of my family. My ambitions. My dreams. Take your pick, it all boils down to…Me.
I need to come undone.
Now I’d be starting to worry about you becoming uncomfortable. Thinking I expect you to have something to add that could contribute to my solution. That could help me with my uneasy state.
I would reach over the table to touch your arm and say “Aren’t you glad for new mercies?!? What grace, I get to lighten my load! I get to shed more of myself and give more of me to Him! Oh, sure it won’t be easy, but He’s promised to help me. And wouldn’t you know, He’s still giving me joy through it.”
We would then go through our gift lists together. Sharing moments of joy we gave thanks for through the week. Here would be some of mine:
- Curtains delaying dawn
- That I’m hopelessly flawed and hopelessly forgiven
- Great garage sale finds
- “Heroes don’t always make the best parents” ~ Brennan Manning so I don’t have to be one
- God never tempts us (James 1:12-18)
- Playing scrabble with my hubby
- My sin shows God’s righteousness (Rom 3:5)
- The gift of joy and that it is intended to be our natural state
How about you? Can you help me finish the conversation? What moments of gratitude have you had this week? How do you let it all go? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me. I’ve loved our date.