Don’t Surrender Your Joy

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on

The title of this post should be enough, and its possible that I will only make it muddy by going any further, but here we go!

This phrase landed in my mind a couple of months back and it has been gaining strength since. It arrived just before a series of significant challenges, and has served to equip me to meet the challenges without losing perspective. Regardless of how my current situation is going, a general summary of life in the world today would easily lead one to acknowledge that joy is under attack.

Headlines of COVID spread, unemployment growth, famine spread, deficit budgets, racism, civil unrest and natural disasters all serve to challenge our perspective in life. I make it a general practice of ignoring headlines. I’m not trying to stick my head in the sand, I know of the events that I have listed, but I can do little about improving these situations, so I don’t see the benefit of taking in more information — and I have experienced significant negative impact by following the stories.

Maybe someday I will get to the place of absorbing all of this negative information without it affecting me – maybe — but for now, joy must come first, for what is life if it is bereft of joy?

There is a verse in the Bible that says, “above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”. The heart is the place where joy resides. when we lose our joy, the heart grows sick. Sickness leads to dis-ease and through disease we forfeit the fullness of what life could be.

I have not always been good at maintaining joy. I have surrendered it often in my life. Sometimes my work seemed so serious with the stakes high, and this led me to worry about how things would work out. There are times to be serious, but when I look back at all of my challenges, I gained absolutely nothing by surrendering my joy. Many of these situations were difficult, some even clinically traumatic. These situations have left their mark; a sadness and a loneliness that will not be eliminated completely. When I accept that these events in my life were difficult, and that many of them altered my course in life, I am free to hold them, without surrendering my joy. Joy should be treasured and nurtured, even in he harshest conditions. This is what I want for my life, and the influence that I want to be for my granddaughter. Who wants a grandpa that is serious all the time and worried about how everything will go in the future? Yikes.

I sense a temptation to list ways to grow your joy, but that’s not really what the intention of this post was about; what I set out to do. I just wanted to offer you the title and give you a bit to think about in relation to it. Where your joy comes from is unique to you – just don’t surrender it in the midst of your current life challenges.

David E White - Expanding Your Leadership Resilience