The Secret to Joy


When I was growing up, being the only girl in a large neighborhood had its advantages. Mainly, I got to boss the boys around. And for some strange reason, they listened. I often imagined we were like Wendy and the Lost Boys from Peter Pan. But, I was a lot more demanding than Wendy. And I liked to play hard.

One of my favorite things to do was set traps. That’s right. Large traps that unsuspecting boys might fall into should they wander across my piece of the woods. Learning the best tricks and tips from my older brother, Jimmy, I became very skilled at digging a pit, and covering it with a layer of pine straw just thick enough to protect my secret snare.

Our little world was a dangerous place. There were bad guys and traps at every turn. Enemies hiding behind every tree. But, we loved exploring it knowing that at the end of the day, we got to return to the safety of our homes and families. To fall within the boundaries of safety.

Over the years, it’s that feeling of safety and security that I’ve longed for the most. The freedom that childhood gave. And, I’ve come to realize that these two things were made possible by knowing the following:

  1. We were loved by someone.
  2. There were rules that we      needed to follow in order to keep us safe.

The rest is just details. When these two things were in place, childhood became a time of great joy in our lives. We were known. We were understood. We were secure enough to just “be”.

Isn’t it interesting that the time we likely felt the most freedom in our lives, was the same time that we were expected to be the most obedient?

As we grow older and go out into the world, it’s amazing how far we feel from those feelings of security. Life can be so hard. There’s always someone demanding something out of us. It seems to be peppered with snares that we don’t see coming. And for some reason, when we get into the safety of our own home, we don’t always feel safe there.

Through my faith, I’ve come to realize the two most important things we can discover about God:

  1. We are loved by Him.
  2. He has rules in place to      keep us safe.

If we can accept these truths, and then live them, we will once again be free. By agreeing to let Him lead, we become more secure. By following His will, we become aware of His plan. By turning from the world’s rules, and instead choose to follow His very different ones, we become free from the world. Simply by listening to our Father.

This week I challenge you to think about obedience. It’s not a favorite word of mine, or probably yours. But, if we think of it in terms of “deference” it becomes easier to swallow. Deference is respectfully submitting or yielding to the will of another who has authority in our lives. You know, deferring to Someone who loves us. Someone who has put directions in place to protect us. Someone who creates the boundaries of our safety.

It is within those boundaries that you will find true joy, sister. Because essentially, the key to true joy in life is obedience and deference to God.
The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

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