It’s tempting to believe that when something feels right, that actually means it’s wrong. I often find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop, in a constant state of twitchy tension, hesitant to enjoy life. And yet, I simply can’t deny the goodness around me; it holds the very fingerprints of God. There are so many veins of heavenly gold weaving between people and places and ponderings.

But the act of enjoyment can feel disobedient, like I’m dumping peroxide over an open wound in an attempt to make it heal faster. I scratch and squirm and rip back band-aids and try to rush through joy into hurt so I know I’m alive.

Sometimes, we are tempted to “reason whether God’s promises line up more with His character or our circumstances.” The hope of joy is too painful to let in. It’s actually easier to resist joy and leave ourselves in a messy, dark, melancholy place. Joy would require… what? Everything. It would put everything on the line and quite possibly allow everything to be lost. And the hurt from that would be worse than the original hurt, so it’s better to just be persistently sad.

Can you see the foolishness in that thinking? I’ve started to notice and address it in myself. It’s not a coincidence that praise leavens prayer, lifting it away from selfishness and self-pity. Worship is our best defense against despair, and when we worship — when we pray, when we list out our thankfulness, when we relinquish control — our hearts are unleashed. We are free to enjoy our lives.

Joy isn’t a sin. It’s the natural result of a mind set on Jesus and a heart striving to obey and abide.


Christmas ribbon; wrinkled linen; a tumbling dryer; guttering candles; butter on bread; raw honey; a throbbing heart; smudged glasses; peppermint and lavender; chalk dust; grocery store sushi; puddle reflections; amber sunsets; quirky laughter; kinked branches; damp mornings

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