Imagine you’re a child. Someone just handed you a bright red balloon. You take it, but your heart sinks because you know what’s ahead. A big wind may sweep in and steal that balloon from you. Or maybe a bully will sneak up on you and grab it.

You clutch it so tightly it pops.

Lose-lose situation.

For many of us this is how we view joy. We want it. We seek it. We wonder if it’s for us. And when we finally have a season of joy, we wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. We may even sabotage that season of joy. After all, if it’s temporary how can we enjoy it?

Let’s go back to that child. An adult comes to him, another balloon in his hand. He kneels and ties a string gently around the child’s wrist.

“Now go,” he says.

The child skips away. The balloon is secure. He runs. He plays. The balloon follows after him, bouncing in the air.

There is joy that no one can take from you. We aren’t living in that truth as a whole right now. I don’t say that to condemn anyone because I know what it’s like to wonder where my joy has gone. But if joy is a mark of being a believer, I think this prayer is worth praying right now. . .

Lord, restore our joy. 

Heavenly Father, meet us where we are. Gently tie joy around our hearts and souls. Remind us of whose we are. Remind us of what it means to know you and be known by you. Take our eyes off the bully who is grabbing joy by the throat and running with it. Help us to run to the Source of joy that cannot be stolen. There will be sorrow and sadness and hard places, but there’s joy even there as you walk through those places with us. Remind us to deep belly laugh again. To be joy noticers. To live in a way that the world sees us and they long for that same joy, amen. 

If you want to take this deeper, Jennifer, Holley, and I talk about this more in next week’s More Than Small Talk podcast. We confess our own joy stealers and how to live a life marked by joy — even when the world feels crazy hard.

In today’s podcast we talk about sparks hope, so closely linked to this same topic. We need all of these topics more than ever.

I hope you’ll listen. These podcasts remind me — as I come out of one of the hardest seasons of my life — that sorrow and joy can waltz together and we can come out stronger than before.

It reminds me of the life-giving wonder of joy.



I have so many resources for you today!