Getting off Autopilot | The practice of joy

I think the ability to slip into autopilot mode is one we all struggle with. We can get into a rut of reacting--especially when circumstances are bad or simply boring--and miss much of the happiness that could be possible.

Nancy-the-Insighful shared an interesting quote with me from John Eldridge from his book Walking With God..."God is interested in our transformation and our joy."

Now, I've always been pretty sure that God was interested in my transformation.  As Anne Lamott aptly says, "God loves you just the way you are, and He loves you too much to let you stay that way."  However, I hadn't thought of God as having our joy as a goal.  Not that it doesn't make sense.  I mean, how much do you love seeing your dog's tail wag, delighting your spouse, or giving your kids something you know they really want?  We like making people happy. (Heck, I even feed my gliders mealie worms because it thrills them.)

What if we often miss joy?  Are we so set in just going through the motions that we've lost the ability to be responsive?

John Ortberg, in his book, The Life You've Always Wanted relays the story about his annoyance with his youngest at bathtime.  As a young father, he was a man on a mission:  Get the kids into bed.  However, his two-year-old, filled with the joy of being fresh and clean and completely naked would run around the room doing the dee-dah-day dance. (Which means she would run in a circle singing dee-dah-day, dee-dah-day over and over.) She simply couldn't understand Ortberg's impatience. Or the desire to rush through such a joy-filled moment.

It occurs to me that most two-year-olds are frequently overcome with joy--and at the smallest of things.  What if we could get back to that?  What if our hearts were unburdened enough--or maybe unhurried enough--to respond?

1 comment

CrossPointeDave said...

concurrent reading with you from Soulful Spirituality about the characteristics of transformational spirituality. Dr. Brenner suggests: awareness, wonder, otherness, reality, presence and surrender. The core of a healthy spirituality is practicing awareness.

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Maira Gall