Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Joy or Joy Stealer?

Recently, I was wandering the aisles of Target on a day out without kids and I overheard a conversation between a mom and a soon to be college student that went something like this:

Mom: All of this other junk is fine, but how do you plan to take your clothes with you?
Daughter: I haven't decided yet.
M: Well, you need some bags. (walks down an aisle).  Like these.
D: These say I need a vacuum to suck the air out and I won't have a vacuum.
M: What other idea do you have then?
D: Maybe some totes.
M: You actually expect us to haul totes of clothes back and forth from school for you? I'm not spending that money on totes just get these bags.
D: Why do I want space saver bags?  I'm not going to unzip them everytime I want clothes?

You get the idea.  The mom was done.  Probably tired of spending money, tired of trying to get all of the things that everyone thinks they need for a dorm room; tired of thinking about her daughter moving away (even though at the moment I think she was ready to drive her away right that moment HA!)

It got me thinking - too often we let our attitude or our "direction" steal someone elses joy.

I find this true in my own life.  I have certain things I expect to happen in my day, with my kids, ect.  When those things don't happen it is so easy to become negitive because life doesn't go the way I planned.  I find myself telling my kids no about everything, getting on them about little things, or just rolling my eyes (when they can't see) after they have said "mom" for the millionth time.  I can see it in their little faces as I begin to steal their Joy.

Snoopy.  Is there anyone that symbolizes joy more than Snoopy?  My third grade teacher's husband was the school counselor in my elementary school so we got "special treatment".  See Mr. Hyde had a special talent - he could drawer Snoopy.  It was a treat to get a Snoopy from Mr. Hyde but because we were in his wife's class, he would often stop by and draw a Snoopy on our papers while we worked.  Why did he do it?  Very simply, when he drew a Snoopy, the students smiled - he handed out Joy through the ink of his pen.  He was a joy giver.

A Joy Giver > A Joy Stealer

So, back to me.  I don't really like to be a joy stealer.  It happens most often when I'm tired.  Or when I get a little put off by what someone does.  Or when my plan is knocked off kilter.  Or, again, when my kids have done me in.  You get the idea.  It. just. happens.  Just like I can see it on my kids faces, I can sense it from other people in either their words or the look on their face.  So what do I do?  I work to change from taking joy to giving joy.  For example.  Recently in the truck as we headed to town - a 35 minutes drive - my youngest asked me to play "the song" (Disc 2, Song 2).  And to play it loud.  This is a common request which I don't mind usually because we are driving 3.5 minutes to the store which means one time through the song.  BUT, I rolled my eyes at the thought of doing this for 35 minutes so I said, "Fine, but only twice and then I'm listening to the radio."  As it played the first time, the conviction started as I thought, he loves this song.  This song that is singing about chosing God; a song that is teaching him about the love of Jesus.  At the end of the second time through, I said, "So, do you want to hear it again?"  To which TWO voices chimed in loudly "YES!!!".  We listened to it 8 times . . .8 times in a row.  Guess what?  By the time we got to town, we were ALL singing it with Joy.