photo by kevin e beasley

Baby Steps to Effortless Joy

This is a shot of my oldest boy at a birthday party about 13 years ago. It was taken in the backyard of our first home. It was a small cottage just big enough for our then average size family. We were young. I had a good job. Our children were mostly healthy and we had nothing much to worry about. But even then we needed more than a popsicle to make us light up like that birthday cake in the backyard that hot Summer afternoon.

Bills. Deadlines. Laundry. Co-workers. Disappointments. Fights. Broken down cars. Health problems. House repairs. Life.

The daily grind often snatches away the gift of effortless joy.

Effortless joy?

If you are like me, it takes quite a bit of work to experience joy these days. What kind of work, you ask? Mental labor. Intentional turning away from stressors and joy killers. Forcing my mind to set aside, if even for just a Sunday afternoon, the urgency of adult life in order to make room for a simple, real, undefiled smile. I mean the kind of smile that comes from your toes and is not a product of your I’m-going-to-do-this-even-if-it-hurts determination. In the case of this photo – a popsicle kind of smile.

What do you need to be able to experience a full blown popsicle smile? I encourage you to sit on this question until you can give it a worthy answer. Then get out your calendar and pick out at least four hours in the next two weeks to look urgency in the face, defiantly turn your back, and go reclaim the day when a popsicle made all the difference.

How are you going to spend your four hours? Let me know in the comments below.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

-Romans 15:13

Photo Details: Kodak DX7590 at 36mm | f3.2 | 1/400