My mother has been struggling through a 3-week bout of pneumonia and she is doing better, thank God. The heat here, however, wears on even the healthiest of souls, so to help her out I picked up shopping lists from her last night when I dropped off some meals to get them by for a couple of days.
Before I left home this morning to set out on the errand-running, I looked around my own kitchen and made a list of what we needed. We were out of our dishwashing liquid, “Joy,” so I jotted that down on a sticky note (love those things) and attached it to my mother’s list.
“Out of Joy.” Well, that’s a mouthful. As often happens, my life in puns ends up being moments of confession.
My one-item list was truly a reflection of what my heart was lacking as I contemplated the long list of errands to run, exercise to do, and chores still undone. I was in serious need of not only the detergent but that fruit of the Spirit quality: joy. My joy was lacking.
As I went about my errands to Wal-Mart, I had to keep looking down at the list and couldn’t help but see my “Joy” reminder each time. It was like a neon sign flashing, “Amy, you’re out of joy!” Eventually I hit the detergent aisle and had to decide between small Joy or super-sized Joy. I chuckled. The woman down the aisle looked at me as I snapped a picture of my hand holding the super-sized Joy. There were no cards nearby, so why was I laughing? Most people, alone in a store, choose to giggle at cards. But I was not. I was laughing at detergent. Poor thing, she doesn’t know I’m crazy that way.
I decided I needed to super-size my Joy. More Joy will last longer, right?
Oddly enough, it was as if God spoke to me in that moment and reminded me that He is the source of true joy, small and super-sized. His Spirit that indwells me is the producer of joy-filled fruit that shows up in running errands for my parents, my husband, and my children. If His Spirit lives in me then I have joy, but am I choosing to exercise it? Sometimes, no. It is my choice to show His joy.
In that instant I got over my joy-less self and completed checking off the list for that store before moving on to the next.
So, I went from exercising joylessness to exercising joy. I have more joy and more Joy!
During Jesus’ talk about His being the vine and His children, the branches, He sums up that part by saying, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11)
My joy is full.