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I heard a video clip of Brene Brown talking about how the greatest fear out there is the fear of joy, and as much as I want her to be wrong, I’m not convinced she is. The scriptures tell us repeatedly to have joy in the Lord, and yet as a pastor and just being a person in the church and in the world, we’re often stuck in a cycle of pain and fear and trauma.

Is joy really that hard?

Remember that song from church camp, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart!”

We fear joy. And we fear it not just as individuals but also as a church group. We’re scared to be happy, joyful creations of God. It’s hard to just celebrate because we’re so aware of the bad things that can and probably will happen, the rug getting pulled out from under us.

But we have to be joyful.

We have to learn to allow joy to be an emotion we feel, a moment of the Holy Spirit taking up our hearts and holding us tightly, a time when God centers us completely. It may only be a moment. It may be a few minutes. But hopefully we’ll get to where we can find and allow joy in more frequently and for greater lengths of time. When we can be a joyful people for God.

How have you been joyful this month?

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