When Joy Seems Elusive

“…you can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.” Ann Voskamp


My soul does better when I’m around our community of broken, in the presence of my children, and when I read great writers. Ann Voskamp is one of those writers that speaks to the quiet and sometimes hidden places in me. You can find her writings at A Holy Experience. As I read this post her words on joy made that kind of deep connection with me. It made me think about the joy I’ve tried to describe and understand.

It’s important for me to draw the distinction between joy and happiness as I see there is a definite difference. It’s especially want the men in our program to know because happiness can be that seductive temptress that never delivers what is promised.

We seem so caught up in pursuing happiness, chasing things, titles, status. The temporary parts of life. That’s what happiness is, isn’t it? Temporary?

But joy…ah, joy, that thing that causes the apostle Paul to write to the Corinthians “our hearts ache. but we always have joy” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Later in the same book Paul says, “They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.”

And I read Ann’s words that joy doesn’t come from making everything perfect. But seeing joy in every imperfection.

Joy in a mom who no longer remembers her daughter? Joy watching a co-worker suffer with cancer? Joy in seeing relapse after relapse with one who just can’t find peace?

Yes, joy in the imperfection. Somewhere in the hurt, pain, somewhere we can find joy. Joy in knowing a Father who loves us in our brokeness. I need the joy. Darkness is too heavy and I need his joy to bring that sliver of light, of hope.

“Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy” Philippians 2:18

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