…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
The other day, I was in my Doctor’s office waiting for her to come in. On the wall across from me was a picture of a toddler by Anne Geddes. The little girl was staring down at her belly button, fascinated. When my Doctor came in she told me that the little girl had found her belly button for the first time when Anne was taking the picture. The little girl was overcome with excitement by her discovery of this new part of her anatomy.
As I looked at the picture, it triggered memories of how exciting it was to discover the newness of everything when I was a child. Every day was a gift of discovery. I looked forward to waking up so that I could begin another adventure. The smallest details of life brought forth giggles and awe.
Do you remember those kind of days?
One of my favorite memories is of ladybugs. Their bright red wings with black polka dots were entrancing. When I would see one, I’d clap my hands in joy while laughter would overflow. They were such colorful creatures. Just seeing them filled me with wonder.
Yet, as I grew older that feeling of awe dissipated. I still thought they were lovely creatures, but they were no longer “new” to me. In fact, the newness of things in the world around me waned in conjunction with my increasing age. Life seemed to overshadow my ability to find joy in new things.
Where I had once looked forward to the gift of another day, I began to dread having to get up to go to school. I liked to learn, but it didn’t fill me with that sense of childhood joy anymore. I was more concerned with keeping my grade point average up so that I could get into a good College in six years down the road. Then once I was in College, I was concerned with picking a degree that would insure steady employment six years down the road.
I had become entirely focused on what the future held instead of living in the present moment. I had seemed to have lost the ability to find joy in the now. I think the true gift of childhood is that we thrive in living in the moment. Each minute is a new minute to marvel at the world around us. Joy easily finds its way into the hearts of children as they embrace the newness of the day.
When I returned to my relationship with Lord, I realized that He wanted me to still have the heart of a child. So, that I could be truly be alive in each moment. Yes, being an adult comes with many responsibilities and circumstances that can steal joy from our days. But I believe that if we try to make the choice each day to find even one thing to experience with the heart of a child, we will develop a habit of embracing the joy that the Lord desires to give us.
The amazing thing about the joy of the Lord is that it changes our lives from the inside out. It heals us. It strengthens us. It sets us free. And it truly is a gift that the Lord wants each of us to open up every day.