This morning, I was reading a section of John Eldredge’s book Desire, and he was talking about the way people – particularly the church – have killed desire and replaced it with duty. Instead of pursuing dreams and joy and the glorious grace of life forgiven and free, we have created a system of religiosity that asks us to be dutiful and diligent at the expense of our desire.

It seems we have made our lives so much about what we “ought” to do – or even more strongly what we ought NOT to do – and in the process, we have made our lives days full of drudgery and obligation. This state of affairs seems entirely contradictory to me since we have been promised that following Christ makes our burden light, not heavy and not dreary.

Now, of course, we all have duties – families, friends, jobs – that we must be true, too, but what if we turned those duties into joys? What if we made them part of our desires? It seems that this difference is simply a small shift in attitude. What if instead of complaining about how much work we had to do, we actually tried to take pleasure in it and see God’s glory in our tasks? What if instead of bemoaning how much driving we undertake to get the kids to practices and lessons, we looked forward to these moments since they give us time with our families? What if we woke up each morning excited to get through the day instead of waking up – as I did today – with this low-grade anxiety that taints every experience?

What I know is that we are called to be people of joy. We are people who have been promised great things. This doesn’t mean that we won’t have pain and that life isn’t absolutely terrible at times, but it does mean that we can always look forward to better things. And the truth is that I think these better things often are here with us right now, if we just choose to see them that way.

So today, I’m going all rose-colored with my glasses. I’m not ignoring suffering or pretending that life is perfect or that people aren’t starving or killing one another. But I am going to see each day as an opportunity to seize joy and make a difference in the lives of those around me. I expect I will like this outlook, and I imagine the people around me will find more joy in my life then, too.

Joy“The Joy of Life” by MNGL