Monday, February 9, 2015

Embrace the Joy

Ernie, the three-legged dog who loved to run around me in circles!

I have many fond memories of my little dog, Ernie. One of my favorites was the way he would show his excitement and joie de vivre. (Yes, a dog can show joie de vivre, probably better than a human can, certainly more often!) 

I'm sure Ernie's enthusiasm wasn't extraordinary in the way of dogs, and many dog owners have seen their dogs do this very thing; Ernie would run around me, a tight little circle about 20-30 feet across, as fast as he could go.  When he was done, he would sink down on his front paws, ready to leap either way, hoping to entice me to play with him. 

It made me so happy to see him enjoying himself like that! It always made me smile. Sometimes it made me laugh. It meant even more because Ernie was a three-legged dog.  In reality, this meant he could only circle in one direction.  If he tried to go the other way, he'd fall over, but he seemed completely oblivious to that fact.  He was just happy he could be outside, he could run, and he could be with me.

I know God wants to see us enjoying life with Him in much the same way that I enjoyed watching Ernie.  He wants to see us - his creation - fully enjoying life, time with Him, and running our hearts out. By running our hearts out, I don't mean that we should be busy all the time.  I mean that we should embrace the joy of being fully alive in Him and expressing that joy in being all that God has created us to be.  

This morning, I listened to several oldies but goodies that I grew up with - Christian rock songs from the eighties.  I couldn't help myself - I had to dance! As I enjoyed the music, I thought about Ernie and how God probably enjoyed watching me express my joy, much the same way I enjoyed watching Ernie run around me.

I guess that in some ways, I'm like Ernie.  I have limitations, weaknesses, pains, and yes, even some scars.  But I have found that there is joy in the day if I will only look for it. 

I may not dance every morning, but today, I was reminded that the joy of the Lord truly is my strength. 

I don't want any more gray days. I want days filled with color and joy! I need to look for, and embrace, the Lord's joy every morning.  In so doing, I will make the heart of God glad, and I will be ready for whatever the day may bring.

 "This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10b NLT)


  1. It never fails to amaze me that the God of the Universe takes delight in me, His creation! To think that He is not only Creator, but also Savior, and Friend....

  2. Thanks for the post, Michelle! I'm sure God did enjoy you cutting a rug to some Russ Taff and Petra. When I think of embracing joy, I think of three people:

    1. Author Bob Goff, who to me is JOY personified. He's a complete rascal, up for anything, incredibly exuberant, hilarious. He spoke at the Global Leadership Summit a couple years ago, and I have never seen anyone that contagious. He's walking ebullience; energy on legs. Anyway, he's got a book called Love Does that's terrific. All about whimsy, and not letting opportunities, joy and life slip away.
    2. My Great Aunt Shirley. Shirley has had a rough life. She's outlived two husbands already, and will very likely outlive a third. Her kids have had many rough patches, and one of her daughters-in-law is currently dying because of a botched medical procedure. And yet, Shirley, like Ernie, cuts right through the difficulties of life and does laps around everyone else anyway. Every time I'm with Shirley I think, "What piddly thing was I whining about yesterday again?"
    3. Author ND Wilson, and his book "Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl, which is a fantastic treatise on retaining Wonder and Awe as we go through life. I love one scene in which he talks about his wife finding him outside face down on the front lawn hanging on for dear life because the earth is hurtling through space at 86,000 mph. Never mind that we can't feel that at all as we stand on the earth's surface. Very unique perspective.

    But before this becomes a blog post of its own, thanks for the reminder, Michelle: God's joy, and his Spirit, really are the air filling us poor clay dirigibles desperately in need of his sustenance and strength. And, as Ken Davis famously (at least in our family) pointed out in a very memorable talk he did years ago: there are so many reasons for joy if we will just open our eyes and tune our inner dial off the FM station of Society - which is corruption, hatred, greed, dissatisfaction and distraction - and onto the Giver of all good things.


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