Because ‘seriousness’ isn’t a fruit of the Spirit

G:

I’ve realized two things lately:

1)     This blog has become more stale than a loaf of bread three months past its expiration date

2)     Christians are way too serious

seriousness

I can blame my busyness for my blog’s dryness, but what excuse do Christians have?

We can’t blame it on our expiration dates.

For a people that have been redeemed through a sacrificial act of extravagant love, we seem to be walking around like our puppy keeps getting run over by a truck every single day.

I’m not sure if You can feel the chill all the way up there in the clouds, but it’s pretty cold down here.

If the “Frozen Chosen” were a brand of popsicles, it would probably be a lot cooler than what they actually are.

My friend went to a Christian concert the other day and told me that the band, in an effort to get everyone to loosen up and enjoy themselves, said: “We’re going to have fun tonight because seriousness isn’t a fruit of the spirit. Joy is.”

I know it was written on the stone tablets, “Thou shall not steal,” but I’m totally stealing that saying.

Somehow we’ve forgotten the joy. The laughter. The happiness.

Yes, there is a time and season for everything. “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecc 3:4). But we seem to be forgetting to laugh and dance.

We seem to be forgetting that seriousness isn’t a fruit of the spirit.

Like a spiritual fortune cookie, Solomon sums it up well in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

I’m not sure what’s crushing our spirits as Christians. The world. Money. Jobs. Relationships. Suffering. Depression. Illness. I’m sure it’s a list that rivals an exhaustive phone book of New York City.

And I’m sure our joy-less spirits are drying up our bones.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped being a stale people and started being the ones that displayed joy amongst love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Turns out laughter may be the best medicine after all.

Your goofball,

m

Advertisements

ON HAVING A HAPPY NEW YEAR

new year

photo: timescity.com

G:

I’m assuming your laugh is a hearty one—one that shakes the clouds, maybe even causes small earthquakes in California (just the ones that make your glass of water wobble, of course).

I’m sure you laughed when my good friend and I were sitting on the couch in my apartment this time last year. We were both 100% sure that 2013 was going to be a great year.

It wasn’t.

2013 was a year marked with heartache from broken relationships, loss of beloved family members, inopportune illness, and chronic stress.

Six months in, my friend and I agreed:

2013 sucked.

A year later we’re sitting on the same seats, on the same couch, having the same conversation about 2014. Except this time there’s hot chocolate. And I got new socks. I’m biting my lip as if to hold back any positive adjectives that want to jump out of my mouth to describe 2014. As if “happy” or “great” or “exciting” are death sentences before the year even begins. RIP 2014—you’ve flat lined before the clock even had a chance to strike midnight on New Year’s Eve.

I’m just about to take out any adjectives whatsoever and remark, “well it will be a year!” when I realize that maybe, just maybe, 2013 wasn’t so bad after all. My friend expresses the thoughts I’m feeling and suddenly clarity occurs like someone finally found the light switch after fumbling around a dark room.

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This past year was full of trials and stress and utter exhaustion, but we learned that through it all You work for the good. Because we love You. Because we turned to You every day for the past twelve months.

In the heartache of broken relationships, there came healing. In the loss of loved ones, there came comfort. In illness, there came health. In chronic stress, there came rest.

Because just like my mom, you have a way of pointing out “character building experiences” (Romans 5:3-5). In these experiences I became closer to You. In these experiences You refined me.

Because what if having a “happy” new year doesn’t mean “happy” in the conventional sense—in the sense of rainbows and butterflies and new jobs with higher salaries and romantic engagements with huge diamond rings that weigh down your left hand and luxurious trips around the world on a cruise line that doesn’t lose power or have someone murdered on it—what if having a “happy” new year meant letting You work your magic of creating good from all things. After all, you are The Heavenly Alchemist, making something of worth out of something unworthy.

As long as I turn to You in all things, You’ll make good from all things. ALL things.

You make happy new years from seemingly sucky new years.

Looking back, maybe you weren’t laughing at all when my friend and I were chatting on my couch. Maybe you were agreeing with us.

I’m 100% sure that 2014 is going to be great year, too.

Your child,

m