Two men. One in his early sixties. The other in his mid-thirties. Both with lifelong goals.
Man #1 leans on the premise that cultivating good relationships keeps us happier and healthier in the long run.
Man # 2 provides the cameraman with a tour of his 17,000 square foot home, showing off the accumulation of things: fast cars, racquetball courts, a state-of-the-art kitchen, artwork.
Man #1 tells his viewers that even in the midst of bickering with loved ones, true happiness comes when people invest in good and healthy relationships.
Man # 2 leads his cameraman to the front door of his home, a solid wood door with medieval-like details: metal forgeries and hinges. He proceeds to open the door and finds a human being waiting in front, chuckles surprisingly, and shuts the door on her face, before continuing with the tour of his massive man-cave.
Man # 1 provides us with startling statistics on recent survey of Millennials, saying 80% believe “getting rich” will satisfy them; while 50% believe true fulfillment comes ‘
“when fame and popularity” are reached.
The first tells me that people are happier and healthier because they’ve invested in quality relationships. He says loneliness is slowly killing us; loneliness is downright toxic.
The second tells me that there are three, simple steps that will bring a person wealth, happiness, and achievement. And if you want to know what those steps are, you’ll have to click on his featured link.
This is the blaring juxtaposition of temporary happy and apparent joy. Man #1 seems at peace, eyes holding glints of hope; He exudes joy. The voice and eyes of Man #2 hold monotone sadness.
Two souls. Chasing happy and chasing joy. Which one are you? Are you leaning into joy? Are you chasing happy?
Perhaps you’ve wanted them both. I have. And I sense how striving just leaves me depleted. How it washes over me, an iron cape of exhaustion.
I know what joy produces. It’s a conversation with a loved one, one of laughter and connection, regardless of the weeks that have gone by. Joy’s byproduct washes away worry, producing Soul-Joy, a gliding carpet that makes hope and love soar. Which woman are you?
Investing in Soul-Joy
I’m cultivating Soul-Joy for 2016. Recently, I’ve joined Jennie Allen from the IF:Gathering to begin hosting IF:Table, a fellowship of 6 women, four questions, in a two-hour stretch. I’m excited, friends. This is a big deal for me, because I love my alone time. I love staying home. I’m an introvert. But God was all about community. He healed. He broke bread. He gave hope. IF:Fairfield kicks off next weekend! A few of my ladies from Black Rock Congregational will be here, but I’m hoping to open this home to a few others.
I want to model this same hope. On February 5th and 6th the Annual IF:Gathering kicks off. A few of my favorite women will speak that weekend: Ann Voskamp, Susie Davis, and Bianca Juarez Olthoff. A gathering of women of color and cultures praying and seeking the face of Jesus. Women actively rescuing marginalized women involved in human trafficking and other tragedies.
I’m stepping into brave, too. I’ve decided to open this home–God’s home actually–to women who are interested in attending IF:Gathering via Live Simulcast next weekend. Yikes. I’m praying for a few women that I love and have been through my hard and heavy moments of my life.
Will you cover the IF:Gathering this week? Will you help me to know what six women are meant to be here for IF:Table?
Life is messy. Life is complicated. But life is meant for the breaking of bread and for love and joy and exhortation.
Maybe you would be interested in hosting your own IF:Gathering. Prayerfully consider, friends. There is a joy to discover. But we don’t have to venture off. Soul-Joy is found right where we are. Soul-Joy begins with us.
Let’s be #1 women. Let’s pray for # 2 men and women who think that wealth and success and 17,000 square foot homes are the answer. Because real wealth and success is the the joyful hope of breaking bread and establishing meaningful friendships–no matter the ups and downs.
Praying for your Soul-Joy, Amiga.