I’m sure you’ve heard the term kill-joy. This past Sunday Pastor Mike’s message explored the kill-joy of more (feeling like you never have enough) and comparison. There’s a long list of these joy-muggers: fear, boredom, busyness, suffering. What’s the big bully of gladness in your life?
The picture in my mind of a joy-killer is a skeet shooter, in which a hunter with loaded shot-gun tracks and blasts a clay disc that’s launched into the air. Can’t you see it – gladness begins to arise in your heart and full-on joy takes flight, soaring higher when along comes the kill-joy, discharging a load of pain, heaviness, or irritation, blowing up gladness to smithereens, littering your life with a cloud of feathers, the remnants of a now thoroughly obliterated joy.
Today was a bad joy day for me. From the get-go, I was immersed in a puddle of heaviness that sucked energy and life from the living, leaving me puckered with grumpiness. I could feel strength leaving me as joy got the stuffing beat out of it. In the words of the Psalmist, my soul was downcast.
But looking back on this day, here’s the truth – I let it happen; I didn’t fight back at all. I let the joy-killers waltz in, unchallenged, to bully and blow away joy. I did nothing to stand up for happiness, nothing to defend delight or guard gladness.
There are enemies to God’s joy for our lives and everyday they’re belching out threats and burgling God’s gift joy in life. So the question for me is, will I limply allow that to happen? Or will I get serious about joy and mount some intelligent counter-attack?
Mike Mason writes about the need to fight for joy: “I had to stop playing the victim and learn to be the aggressor. I never used to think this way. The idea of attacking my spiritual enemies would have chilled me to the bone. Yet gradually I learned a surprising truth: What matters isn’t the force or skill of my attack, but the simple resolution to fight. As long as I hang back in fear, I cannot win. But the moment I take up arms with a will, the enemy’s on the run.”
Thankfully this is an experiment in joy – so I’m not going to beat myself up for struggling with joy today. Tomorrow is another day; and tomorrow I’m going to rough up joy-killers and kick at the thieves of delight because God’s gift is too good not to fiercely protect.