Sorry to be another one of those, but I’ve just come back from my first time at Glastonbury and it was brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that I’ve spent the last week wallowing in post-Glastonbury blues. I’m now looking for the next thing to perk me up, to give me a hit and take me out of my everyday life. Be that a birthday party, a holiday or a new pair of shoes, I unconsciously lurch for the next thing that will make me happy and give me escape from the stresses of the ordinary.
But my realisation of this desire to live like I’m jumping from stepping stone to stepping stone brought with it the further realisation that this isn’t kingdom living. That my joy should not be derived from one night out, but instead be found in every single day because of Jesus. I should recognise that joy in the knowledge he’s standing beside me when I’m in my appraisal or wondering how I’m going to pay this month’s rent.
I don’t think Jesus promises us happiness – and although it’s lovely when we can find that – happiness, to me, is ultimately ephemeral. What Jesus gives us is joy. A joy that, if we let it, permeates the everyday struggles. This quote by Lisa Velthouse explains it much better than I can:
“Joy is not the froth and lightness we tend to long for and expect. Joy is an anchor; it is heavy. It falls into the coldest, deepest dark places, where the current and pressure are enough to crush bone, and it holds there. On the surface waves crash and roll, and we are not steady but we are held, and somehow that is beautifully enough. So when the soldier is not yet home, when the cure has not yet been found, when the loneliness hasn’t yet faded, there is Joy. When the hurt hasn’t yet seen its end, there is Joy. When we wait and wait and all for nothing because the happiness we’ve asked for doesn’t arrive, there is Joy.”
If you are anything like me, stop craving the next big thing, the next life-changing moment. Start seeing the happiness in your today, but also the greater joy for all seasons and situations. We don’t need to escape when we realise we are held.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (John 15:9-11).”