Dear Grumpy Church Ladies,
Hey, you. Yes, you. I mean no disrespect. You are, after all, my sisters in Christ. We are part of the same family. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to address you with the kind of frankness that only a sister can. I’m just going to say it . . . Those frowns are not becoming.
You know the one, that frown you wear to the restaurant after church. The frown you wear while yelling at your kids at the grocery store (right before you drive away in your van with the Christian bumper sticker). That frown you wear when your friends disappoint you, your husband ignores you, or your efforts go unnoticed. Yeah . . . that one. It’s not your most flattering accessory.
I’ve got one of those frowns too, but part of what I’m learning through The Daily Bible Reading Challenge is that regardless of my circumstances, I can have joy. And not just the kind of joy that makes me calm on the inside, but a bubbling up, thankful, can’t be contained kind of joy that can’t help but show on the outside, too.
Isaiah 12:3 puts it this way: “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Think of knowing Christ like a deep, deep well. We can drop down our buckets and pull up joy every time. Not because everything is necessarily rosy, but because God has saved us from the darkness of our sin.
You see, joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness depends on circumstances. Happiness leads to the kind of smile that comes after good news, time with good friends, or a good joke. Joy, on the other hand, doesn’t depend on circumstances or surroundings. Joy isn’t the same as slapping a smile on our face and trying to convince ourself everything is peachy. Joy is choosing to live like all is well—and all will be well—because God is with us in all circumstances.
Joy flows out of grateful hearts that recognize God’s promises are sure. He has already done everything needed for us to be okay, and He is going to do everything necessary to set things right in the end. That, my sisters, is good reason to smile.
So, go ahead, turn those frowns upside down. There is nothing we will face today that can snatch God’s promises from us. Go on, accessorize those Christian bumper stickers with a smile. Greet the people in your world with a big, toothy grin. Let the joy of the Lord shine all over your face. He has certainly given us ample reason to celebrate.
We are the salt of the world and a city on a hill, after all. Which means, people are watching. Let’s not let our moods send the message that serving Christ is drudgery or that being a part of the family of God is a drag. Let’s drop down our buckets and pull up joy, and then let that joy radiate into our words and deeds.
We can do it!