Last year at this time I started training with Completely Ridiculous and a class that really pulled me out of my sadness and self pity was a clown-based class. The heart of the work is to come back to delight, wonder, and hope. I think that’s also the heart fo life: coming back to the awe.
I may not walk around with a smile glued to my face nor recite Christian phrases like, it’s the joy of the Lord that does it for me! Praise be to those folks who genuinely hold that close to their heart and on their sleeves. I probably, once upon a time, was that too. Once in high school someone thought I was fake because I smiled all the time until he realized I was genuinely happy and wanted to be my friend. (Goodness please if you are reading this, remind me when this was because high school simply felt awful!) People would say my joy, my smile were infectious. Last year, a friend said, “Nancy…you seem….sad.”I think he meant more than the general allowed sadness we had; I was gray. I was heavy. I am still those things. These past 2 years, life in general, have dampened my outward infectious smile, or shortened the consistency of it.
But this new reality has made my moments of awe and wonder that much more powerful. Awe and wonder and delight can strike me at a moment’s notice, and I’m tearing up by the grace of god. I am more sensitive when wonder smacks me and pulls me up for air. Wonder by Bethel music gets me every time. Coming back to the present moment, like really coming back to it, gets me every time. Because I know the opposite. I’ve gotten comfortable on the other side. And the along with the doubt and despair plagued on the other side, I have also deepened my relationship with god in a way I need never to justify to anyone anymore. It can be lonely at times, and still I wouldn’t trade it for another journey to faith.
Today I will chase delight. Today I will smile at cute dogs. Today I will imagine that on the other side of this loneliness and lost land is gracious provision that will leave me saying, OH MY GOD. WOAH. WOW.
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this; He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret — it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
There is a symbiotic relationship between delighting in the Lord and fulfilling the desires of your heart. They need each other to fulfill each other. To delight in the Lord is to enjoy, relish and receive with out-of-this-world wonder. To delight in the Lord is to enjoy the presence of God, find comforting refuge in God and hear the soundtrack of your immutable worth. When you delight in something, you’re focused and you’re rooted. When you delight in something, you’re not worried about what others are getting or how others are enjoying life. You are experiencing life so fully in your moment you need not compare yourself to others. And when you delight in the Lord in this wild and unabashed way, your heart grows more faithful and hopeful. Your heart wishes. Your appetite grows. Your idea of possibility seep into every corner of the room. You dare to reach for the seemingly impossible. You dare to imagine that things will indeed work out. The desires of your heart are not ephemeral; they actually impact how you see the world and your place in it.
And I believe, when you are so filled with this joy, wonder and truth of your worth, your desires will align accordingly. Your desires won’t be to seek joy, seek wonder, seek power, seek love: they already are. Your desires are bigger and braver. Your desires are to live out that joy, live out that wonder and live out a life where you know, without a doubt, you are beautiful, loved and worthy. If all of us can live from a place of enough and fullness, how far can this universe expand outside of us and inside our hearts?
Is sorrow the true wild? What if we joined our sorrows? What if, what if…What if that is joy?
Why do we go into the wild? Because deep down we believe that there is something in the wild that will make us more alive, help us see greatness and put us in our rightful place. In the wild you may get hurt, you may get lost, you may cry and long for home. You will doubt why you took the journey in the first place. You might not even have a destination so it’s by faith to know when the adventure stops. But each thing you encounter might be the complete reason for why you came out into the wild. Each step could be it. Each look. Each feel. Each moment could be that moment.
The wilderness of sorrow is full of thorns, of ungardened weeds that have crowded my soul. I now take my sword, my boots and my everything and go into the places that will break my heart, and lead me to the pool of wholeness I was made to swim in.
Sorrows I’m afraid to deal with: abandonment by my family, my fear of intimacy, my body conscious mind, my propensity to exchange joys for comparison