When was the last time you gave yourself over to joy? A time when you just let yourself let go of all the trappings of the world and basked in the glow of the One who loves you beyond words?
There are times when I am too busy or too concerned about all the stuff of this world and I know God uses my two sweet girls to remind me that I am missing the point. That I am missing the opportunity for joy. That I am missing the invitation God sends each day to soak in the simple joys and the beauty of the world around me.
When I watch my girls, who are six and four, during the day, I catch glimpses of the world God intended for us. It comes in the unexpected moments, in the unanticipated moments, and it is all around us.
So, when was the last time you let yourself experience the world like the child of God that you are?
When was the last time you shouted with delight at the sight of a butterfly that flitted just inches from your head or marveled at a hawk swooping through the shadows of the trees?
When was the last time you spun around with your arms outstretched, turning in a lazy circle beneath the dazzling brightness of the sun and a clear blue sky?
When was the last time you ran into a room to give someone a hug because you wanted them to know how much you loved them?
When was the last time you jumped into a puddle and laughed because of the way it splattered around you and then jumped even harder to see how high you could make the splash go?
When was the last time you dug your fingers into the dirt and marveled at the feel of the coolness that was just out of the sun’s reach?
When was the last time you looked at something familiar and saw something new or inspiring in it, like the back of your pickup truck as a place for a picnic in the driveway or bicycle turned upside down as a machine to make you run five times faster?
When was the last time you ran through a sprinkler and laughed at the sensation of the water on your skin or watched the way the sun, when it caught the spray just right, created a misty rainbow?
When was the last time you picked a simple clover and saw a beauty in it that made it equal to a rose just because it was created by God or collected sweet gum balls because you thought they were fascinating?
If you have the opportunity to be around children, absorb their natural propensity for joy. Bask in it. Almost everything they do is marked by curiosity, joy, or wonder. We all know this, but it is worth the reminder: children are all about joy. Seriously, have you ever seen a child slog through his day? No, because so much of what they see and so much of what they experience is naturally born from an untarnished place of joy and wonder.
Sure they have meltdowns if you cut their toast the wrong way. And yes they have tantrums in the middle of the pasta aisle of the supermarket because they are tired or hungry or tired or bored. They have difficult moments that try a parent’s patience.
But, really, if you watch a child, really watch them and the way they interact with the world around them, you will be awed and inspired. You will be inspired by the way they release themselves to the joy of a moment.
My girls have marveled at creating a rainbow from plastic colored clothespins or by shining a flashlight through a prism. They have reveled in the idea of creating and exploring color and art and beauty with paints, markers, chalk or the Walgreens sale insert. They have delighted in the freedom to run and to slide across a floor in their stocking feet and to spin until they cannot see straight. They have laughed at the way their shadows shift and change and grow larger than life. They have loved without condition and fallen down without giving up.
They have embraced joy and God has used them to remind me that there is more joy in my daily life than I tend to see.
But I am following their lead. I am pausing more and I am looking around at the beauty in the world more. I am entering into the joy of the presence of Jesus in the moments of my day and realizing that joy is far more abundant than we think it is.
And when I forget, I join my girls in exploring the world with the eyes of a child. Eyes that see wonder and beauty and joy and Jesus in just about everything.