If joy is a gift, does it mean we’re left to only wait to receive? Does joy count if we ask for it too?
Back when I was single, one of the hot topics regularly debated was whether a girl should ask a guy out for a date. I don’t think I ever settled on a universal answer for everyone. But I had my personal preference.
I wanted to be pursued. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t play hard to get. But I was leading various ministries and I handled my responsibility with great care. It was important to safeguard the community and my heart to view the opposite gender as familial. Everyone was my brother; that was my practiced default.
As I entered my 30’s still unattached, I wondered maybe I had gotten too good at treating everyone as my brother. Did I somehow lose the capacity to feel attraction?
In my relationship with Jesus, I’ve gone through a season where I learned to find contentment by faith. It’s always felt intuitive to go to God if I’m in need.
But I don’t think it ever occurred to me go to God — to ask for joy.
No Longer Willing
Asking for joy seemed odd and out of place. Wasn’t I supposed to already have joy since I had God?
Something I rarely confronted was the part of me that felt guilty for not experiencing joy in greater measure. Since my second baby CJ was born, a thirst I never experienced before suddenly developed. I don’t know how they are related, but I do know this. I wasn’t satisfied with the amount of joy I was living in my everyday.
It was a feeling similar to what I felt after I went on my first date with my husband. I wanted more.
Just like the right person triggered an attraction I didn’t think possible, Jesus has ignited a desire for more joy.
I didn’t trust this desire for more joy initially. I discounted it as a potential source of discontentment.
Bit by bit, Jesus conveniently had me running into Scripture that contained the word JOY time and again. I started thinking it wasn’t coincidence.
I was no longer willing to just read about it. I wanted joy to be increasing in my life, not just on paper.
What Do You Seek?
As I began to prepare for Easter, I wanted to get especially close to Jesus, wanting more words of joy. I decided to read through the red letter words in the Bible. I started with the Gospel of John (my faves of the Gospels for the amount of dialogue).
Jesus’ first words in the Gospel of John has been fascinating me.
Two of his future disciples were curious about Jesus, following Him from a distance.
“… Jesus turned and saw them following and said, to them, “What do you seek?”
They said, “Teacher, where are you staying?”
Jesus said to them, “Come and you will see.” John 1:35-39
I realized as much as Jesus likes initiating, our relationship is reciprocal.
He wants us to ask for joy too.
He wants me to dare to seek joy — to actually articulate my desire for it.
Take A Risk
Jesus isn’t a Master sitting from on high, waiting to dispense joy like a detached sultan blessing his subjects. Jesus is wooing us, inviting us to open ourselves up for joy — by wanting it.
Maybe you’re like me. During difficult times, you’ve had to hunker down by faith, thinking joy was a luxury while trusting God in the dark.
Jesus is waiting for us to take a risk… to ask, so that we can receive:
“Until now you have asked for nothing in my name;
Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full…
for the Father Himself loves you…”
~ John 16:24, 26a
Now that I’m married, the question of who should initiate romance continues to be a hot topic in small groups and even Sunday School.
I guess there’s a timeless hunger in our souls that longs to pursue and be pursued. We want to be desired and we equally long to desire.
This art of attraction takes two. There is a time to receive, but there is also the joy of asking.
If you’re wondering if joy has been long out of use too long and out of your everyday scenery, will you dare to believe with me? Along with our daily needs, we can ask for joy.
How is Jesus showing you something new about joy?
*Today’s post is part of a new April series — Discovering New Joy. Check out our topic for today and next week’s new topic!
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