When I was a little kid, my mom and dad often called me their little Eeyore.
It may sound like a silly name for a kid, but to be honest, that name fit me quite well – it still does. I am intense and serious. I tend to have a little rain cloud over my head. I feel things deeply and express things deeply. I’m forgetful and often loose things (good thing I don’t actually have a tail, because I would perpetually be loosing that too). I tend to be the quiet one of the bunch and honestly, being gloomy comes quite easy to me.
Perhaps thats why I decided my One Little Word (OLW) this year should be joy.
The other day I was reading a devotional on joy and the devotional asked, when it comes to joy, which of the loveable 100 acres woods characters fits your personality, best.
[The descriptions below of Tigger, Rabit and Pooh come from this devotional. The descriptions below for Piglet, Kanga and Owl come from this character trait list.]
Are you a Tigger? “Tiggers are bouncy, flouncy, trouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! They bounce through life with a spring in their step. They laugh loudly at parties (I’ve decided they do everything loudly), they tell jokes, and they think everyone is their best friend. Even if they can’t remember your name, you’re their best friend. Of course, joy comes easily to them — right?” My little sister is a Tigger…she’s happy, and bouncy, the life of the party.
Or maybe, you’re more like me – an Eeyore – someone who find is difficult to be joyful. Sometimes joy can feel elusive to those of us who aren’t naturally bubbly. But is it?
Is it possible for those of us who are not naturally joyful to find and experience true joy?
Psalm 16: 11 (NIV) says, “in His presence is fullness of joy.” So it is possible! When we are in God’s presence we can experience fullness of joy – true joy – but we have to actually be IN his presence.
Galations 5:22-23 (NIV) reads, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Rick Warren in Joy is For Everyone, writes, “Joy is our birthright from the Holy Spirit. It comes from being connected to God. Galatians 5:22 tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (NIV). That verse doesn’t say that joy is available for only those whose natural personality lends itself easily to feelings of joy. No, it implies that joy is available for all who are in Christ Jesus and whose lives are full of the Holy Spirit.”
I don’t know about you, but I find that so encouraging! I don’t have to be naturally inclined to be joyful, bouncy and happy all the time, all I need to do is be in Christ and have Christ in me. When the Holy Spirit is in our lives joy will be the natural overflow and fruit of our life. Notice it says “the fruit of the spirit is” not “the fruits of the spirit are“. If we are truly living for the Lord, joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control will grow in our lives.
So how do we grow the fruit of joy in our lives? John 15: 5 (NLT) reads, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” Fruit grows in our lives when we abide in him. John 15 asks, can we bear fruit if we are not connected to the vine? No! Branches can’t bear fruit if they are cut off from the tree or vine. If we are to bear the fruit of the spirit, if we are to be truly joyful, we must be connected to HIM, in relationship with HIM, and abiding in HIM.
I remember being a little kid sitting in the backyard picking “bouquets of flowers” (aka dandelions) for my mom. I would gather as many little yellow blossoms as I could possibly grasp in my tiny hands before I ran into the house proudly presenting my gift to my mom to stick in a jar on the table. But sadly, every single time, my precious little flowers would wilt and turn brown. Within a few hours they would hang their heads and sink over the edges of that jar. As a kid, I could never understand why my precious prize had died. It had water and sunlight and lots and lots of love. I had the best intentions yet my poor little flowers never lasted. Why was that? They weren’t connected to the true source of their existence. As soon as I plucked those little dandelions out of the ground I cut them off from the roots which nourished them.
You and I are like dandelions. We can have great intentions…but if we are cut off from the roots that nourish us, how can we truly survive.
My prayer is that I would learn how to abide in him and be in his presence. Because it is only when I am in his presence that I will discover fullness of joy. Blessings and prayers for you too.