My Joy

We are all gifted.  Everyone of us has something special that God Almighty placed in us for His purpose, for His glory.  Some of us are teachers, preachers, encouragers.  Some of us are listeners (Not at the top of my gift inventory...but I'm working on it!).  Some of us are healers, some of us are leaders, some of us are followers (And if you don't think being a good follower...being a team player...sacrificing a probably aren't one!).  Some are dreamers, some are planners and thinkers.  I've been told I have the gift of encouragement...of hospitality...of discernment.  I enjoy those gifts tremendously and am thankful for them.  My favorite gift, however, is my joy.  It comes across as loud and obnoxious, sometimes...often...more than not...but it's mine and how people react to it really isn't my problem.  Beth Moore once said that you choose to be what someone says or what someone does.  The intent of the words and of the actions may be to offend, but the reaction is a choice. 

I never intend to be offensive with my joy.  It tends to bubble up and spill over and I can't always control it.  Ok...maybe I could do a better job of trying to control it.  I've tried the demure, reserved act...and it's just that, an act...and not very well acted, for that matter!  It's not me.  That's someone elses gift and trying to use someone else's gift is like trying to wear their shoes...they don't fit.  So, I've tried to learn to live with the fact that people don't always appreciate my joyfulness...they don't understand bothers them.  They are offended by it and thus, by me.  And I don't understand why someone would be offended by another person's joy.  Is it jealousy?  Can one person be so miserable, or so frigid that the warmth and happiness of another person is unpalatable?  I'm here to tell is HARD and choosing to conduct yourself as if you had pickle juice coursing through your veins doesn't make it any easier!  I'd much rather be around folks who try to find the joy in every situation than the ones who dwell on the doom and gloom.  Of course, you get three or four of us joy-filled folks together for any length of time and you have what Mr. Snark and others of the engineering ilk will call "critical mass."  In layman's terms that means a whole lot of badness going down all at once.  My joy feeding of her joy, which is feeding off his joy...feeding off my joy....look out...there's liable to be an explosion of confetti and fireworks!

The world didn't give it to me and the world can't take it away, but that doesn't keep the world from trying!  I'm not sure why I have the gift of hospitality...other than to be used for God's glory.  I am, however quite sure, about my joy.  God gave me a joyful heart because of the trauma and meanness of my childhood.  There was a life time of unhappiness during a few years of my childhood.  There was abuse, loneliness, fear, sadness, confusion, uncertainty.  I don't share this for pity or for shock value.  It is what it is...or it is what it was...because it WAS.  It's part of my past.  I don't use it as a weapon or as currency.  I don't put it on parade and it's not enshrined.  Did it shape me?  Most definitely!  Does it define me....HECK, NO!  To be defined by what happened makes me a prisoner of my past and I'm not about to go through life in chains. The ability to laugh and have a good time is God's gift to me for the times when there was very little worthy of laughter. 

It's a gift...plain and simple.  It has nothing to do with my intelligence...or lack of same.  It has nothing to do with where I was raised, or where I happen to live.  This summer will mark twenty-one years of life WayDownSouth.  I left Michigan when I was twenty-one.  The scales are balanced, but only for a year.  After that, my life WayDownSouth will outweigh my life UpNorth.  Trying to explain my mirth and frivolity as the outcome of being "from UpNorth" makes no more sense.  I've met PUH-LENTY of uptight, repressed, frosty, Southern born and bred folks during my time in Dixie and it has NOTHING to do with geography.  It's a matter of the heart.  Perhaps it's just harder to understand if one lacks a disposition that is naturally joyful.  I don't know.

What I do know is's my gift...and I'm pleased to share it with anyone who needs it or wants to share it with me.  Don't try to take it from me.  You didn't give it to me, so it's not yours to's not even your place to try and rationalize, justify or explain.  If you want to be offended, that's your choice.  My choice is joy.