The lost art of joy and where to get it

November 24, 2017

Rob Wiltshire of Epicentre Church. Photo by Luke Hemer.

AT A family get together the other day, I was watching the kids all playing together in an outdoor bathtub that was full of water.

They started their game by turning paper plates into boats, and then proceeded by turning the bathtub into a miniature swimming pool.

They loved every minute of it, as they splashed, laughed and made a lot of noise – they were having the time of their lives, as they had no concern in the world.

What I found intriguing was the bathtub just happened to be there.

It wasn’t set up specifically for the kid’s entertainment, in fact there wasn’t anything set up for them to play with.

However, they still enjoyed themselves, which for me is one of the most mesmerising abilities kids have; the ability to make fun out of anything?

Doesn’t it seem that as we age we often lose this ability?

We become preoccupied with the busyness of life, but what are we busy doing?

Generally, we are busy trying to enjoy life.

We are trying to buy joy, and sell our worries and stresses.

As adults joy isn’t as easily bought as we’d like to think, and stress and worry aren’t easily sold.

However, it seems that for most children these emotional commodities are easily traded.

For instance, nearly all children tell their parents about what is worrying them, and by doing so hand that worry to their parents.

Whereas adults tend to do the opposite, we keep our stress and worry’s buried deep within our hearts, revealing them to no one.

I wonder if as adults, there is something we can learn from the simplistic ways of children – I think there could be.

Jesus encouraged his followers in the book of Matthew by saying: “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in”.

This kingdom was what Jesus was offering humanity, and this kingdom is supposed to be one that’s filled with joy, that releases from us stress and worry.

That release can only come via us un-earthing and vocalising what we have buried in our hearts.

We all have stress and worry in our lives, and we all for the most part want to live joyfully, but from my experience we rob ourselves of joy by trying to keep stress and worry buried in our hearts and unexposed.

So I wonder, if we put into action the example given us by children, and vocalised our stress and worries to God and those we deem a safe place, how much room would it make in our hearts for joy to enter in?

The only way to know is to try it.

Rob Wiltshire

Epicentre Church

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