Joy-Challenged

Do I spend time in God’s presence in ways that bring me joy?

Sometimes I do. 

Sometimes I try to spend time in God’s presence in ways that don’t work for me (but work for others, and they/I feel these ways should work for me also).

Sometimes I feel guilty for going where my joy is (because it might disappoint others who want me to find joy where they are/who think joy is really not what it’s about). 

Sometimes I feel it isn’t right that I am happy when others don’t agree with my happiness. “Others” generally means my mother.

Her position? If I absolutely feel I want to be “happy”, whatever that means, then I should be happy in the right way. The right way is me being happy by doing and becoming what she needs. As I was taught in church, and by my parents. God is certainly not with me in my current state of disobedience and selfishness, resisting what is clearly required of me. God can’t possibly be in my joy. God would be with me if I was where she wants me, not feeling anything I’m not supposed to feel, not imagining possibilities but doing my duty to God and to her.

It’s hard to make decisions for joy with her standing on the hem of my skirts, so to speak. If I move, she might fall. If I feel too much, say too much, dare too much, she feels hurt. I wonder how I could carefully ease the hem from under her foot…while wishing at times I had the guts to just pull away in one quick move, and not look back. There is a lot of suppressed anger and hurt that would find this very satisfying. But that’s not what has the last word in me, and that’s a good thing, I guess. I still need to say more what I feel, and separate myself from her more clearly, and do my own thing, and feel okay with that. And trust my joy.

Joy is what I want…

Richer By Far

“Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
 .
“In some religious circles, joy, humor, and laughter are viewed as excessive, irrelevant, ridiculous, inappropriate, and even scandalous. But a lighthearted spirit is none of those things. Rather, it is an essential element of a healthy spiritual life and a healthy life in general. When we lose sight of this serious truth, we cease to live life fully, truly, and wholly. Indeed, we fail to be holy. …People seemed fascinated by joy. It’s almost as if they’d been waiting to be told that it’s okay to be joyful believers. Still, many clergy, as well as some devout believers in general, give the impression that being religious means being dour, serious, or even grumpy. Joylessness is nondenominational and interfaith. Religious organizations seem to reward the more serious types; they rise to the top because their…

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