Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What's All This Blathering On About Joy...

OK, time for some backstory.

Over the last several weeks (months, actually) I've been reading through the psalms (112 so far!) and noticing how many times phrases like "be glad" or "rejoice" occur in well as nouns like "joy" and especially "lovingkindness." David was crazy obsessed with God's "lovingkindness"--love in, directed love at me. David seemed to use God's love as a kind of fuel for his own joy--his capacity to laugh in life.

There's clearly a discipline involved. David did more than just "try to feel joyful" (we all know how well that works). He actively, repeatedly, tenaciously cultivated his awareness of and connection to God's lovingkindness. No matter what the circumstance was telling him about his life or worth or lovability, he would break in and say, "No, wait a minute--God is all about love in action. He loves me. He delights in me. He can't get enough of me. I will rejoice and be glad in my life because God's loving presence is all over me, regardless of whatever else is going on in my world. No matter how bad things seem, they can't stand in the face of God's great love for me. Hoo-yah!"

Hoo-yah? Really, Michael?

Anyway, David cultivated joy. He practiced laughter. Gladness of heart was a core discipline he purposefully built into his life...a discipline that kept him connected to the higher truth that God absolutely loved him more than life itself.

I think this wasn't just a feel-good technique, the power of positivity and all that. But this discipline of joy connected David to a very real...and very Divine...power source for his life. It kept him abiding in the reality that God loved him. And there's no greater power source than that:

* When you know God is in love with you, you can face anything...fight any battle.

* When you know God is in love with you, you no longer have anything to prove, and so are free from the fear of what other people think.

* When you know God is in love with you, you know who you are, and so nothing of real value can be stolen from you. In fact, the most powerful Identity Statement of all may be, simply: I am powerfully, deeply, utterly loved.

"We love, because He first loved us..." (1 John 4:19)

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