The Grace of Joy

I’m struggling today with the idea that I firmly believed yesterday that Joy is grace.

I do know that it is the truth. For several months I’ve been plodding along with Brother Lawrence as I read The Practice of the Presence of God and attempting to think less about the outcomes of what I do and to do the work that is before me that day. It is summer, after all, so some days, work might be a relative term. Even though I try not to, though, I do find ways to let outcomes sneak in. Admiring my kitchen floor that I finally cleaned, counting the number of days I’ve faithfully written my “morning pages”, viewing emails that report that someone downloaded an article or viewing how many blog views I had today. Achievement is insidiously measured and does provide a momentary feeling of accomplishment. There’s nothing inherently wrong here —I’m sure I’m normal. But do I want to linger here, that is the question. Because tomorrow my kitchen floor will be dirty again and I will write my morning pages in a hurry and I have the daunting task of major revision of a new article and you see where this is heading, My achievements are never enough.

More than once during the last 24 hours I have encountered Anne Lamott’s wisdom:

“I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”

I might co-op her wisdom to say the same thing about joy, the kind of joy that Jesus talks about in John 15: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Joy does not come from focusing on my achievements but on the One who completes my efforts that are never finished or enough on their own. The grace of joy is that I am enough.

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2 thoughts on “The Grace of Joy

  1. Not that “I am enough,” but that I AM (an OT name for God) is enough. I was just struck by this sentence and its use of the words, “I am.” How easy to interpret that I (Sarah or Linda) am enough, but thinking that cannot be right, because theologically I am never enough, but really that is OK. Really it is just fine, because I never can be, but for I AM it is part of who God is – always even MORE than enough. Just a thought. Plow on, my friend!!

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