I encountered a very efficient but unfriendly person yesterday. As a direct result of covid her department of testing is 8 weeks behind schedule. Although I cannot say she was rude, she was all business, methodical and quick, something I find quite upsetting as I age. She answered my questions directly and succinctly with clearly no room or time for small talk. Her manner loudly stated that she was focused solely on getting the job done so that she could move on to the next person. I acknowledge she may have certainly been under pressure to get as many folks tested as possible in a day. While I do indeed understand her predicament, she is in the people business. I think she forgot that detail. If she wasn’t serving people she would be your ideal employee.
People who approach others, especially seniors, with this attitude really throw me. Its effect is hard to describe. This hurried, rushed and cold perspective triggers my own discomfort and unease. I probably react in kind and forget the important issues I have questions about. It’s like standing in front of a super-efficient, fast-as-lightning cashier unable to remember your pin number…yikes! They are 10 steps ahead of me while I’m simply struggling to keep up. Unfortunately I suppose we may see more of this with the current shortage of workers. My initial reaction was to get away from this person as soon as I could so I was very glad when the test was over and I was on my way out the door.
However, after I did leave and my own focus shifted away from my poor-me attitude, I began to realize how joyless she was. I wondered when she last smiled…and why didn’t I smile at her despite her behaviour. What heavy burdens was she carrying not to mention the overwhelming work load she must bear?
Although you’ve heard it many times before, yes, joy is a choice. Being full of joy, joy-ful, is the way you decide you want to live despite your circumstances. We each make that personal decision every single day when our feet hit the floor. The apostle Paul teaches us this. There in the cold, dark, damp prison cell, he and Silas were heard singing! (Acts 16)
Being joyful is living in Christ. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Therefore, this joy from the Holy Spirit is not natural, but rather supernatural in that it exceeds the human realm of what is currently happening in our lives. An earthly view is totally different. It holds our feelings hostage to our human frailties and foibles. Conversely Spirit joy has us rise above all this present turmoil. We live with a completely different point of view. Our focus should be on things above, not on earth. Thus, these earthly sufferings are only for “a little while” (1 Peter 5:10) as we see them with this perspective of eternity. Jesus himself saw “the joy that was set before him...” Hebrews 12:2 We need to switch to long range vision.
Bankrupt of joy? Have the mounting years of trials and tribulations robbed you? Try this-Music, song, and dance! The Bible is full of song and dance, marching bands (Joshua 6:9/13), choirs (2 Chronicles 5:12-14) and music of thanksgiving, praise and worship. (Psalms 149:3) David danced with all his might-wow! His heart was full. He rejoiced in the Lord jumping and twirling around. Now his wife wasn’t very impressed by this but God called David a man after his own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14) Who would you rather please-God or man? When was the last time you danced with joy in the Lord celebrating his goodness and mercy? Put on the worship music that touches your heart and dance in your own living room. If you’re not sure may I suggest “The Goodness of God” by Cece Winans although there are countless others. Let the words melt into your being and speak to you. Perform your own ballet right there in your own space as unto the Lord.
Praise the God who created you, the Master of the universe with no holds barred and I assure you your heart will begin to feel lighter and lighter each time you do. When did you last sing out your favourite Bible verses or your favourite old hymn? Remember David’s psalms were all songs he sang as he played the harp, the lyre. The power of music to heal your aching, downtrodden soul can refuel you with joy. Last week we discussed the aroma the Lord finds pleasing. Today we acknowledge he rejoices in our song!