These thoughts are beautiful in their simplicity, and yet the more I meditate on them, the more depth I find. I have written many times on the importance of community. And the challenges I have with it. And the longing I have for it, as well as the blessings I find in others. But community holds a special place in my examination of joy – my word of the year.
Breaking Down Joy and Sorrow with Others
I bought a little house decoration I found on clearance for my bedroom. It says, “Double Each Other’s Joy”. A reminder in the room I share with my husband. And while I think intentionally doing things that would bring joy to a spouse or a friend is a great way to show love, I see the wisdom in sharing our joy with our loved ones as well.
Think about the first thing you want to do when something great happens. Who do you want to tell? I know the super spiritual thing would be to pray with gratitude immediately. But my first instinct is usually to tell my husband and then my mom. And then depending on how good it is, maybe a couple of friends and my sisters. But I don’t believe this is an unspiritual reaction. One of the bible verses I am memorizing this year says, “I have so much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” 2 John 12 NIV
Even the apostle John found joy in a face to face visit. That passage often makes me think of my best friend, who lives in another state. We call each other often to catch up, but sometimes we take advantage of FaceTime technology. I just love to see her face and expressions when I share my news. Seeing her – even on a little screen – is the next best thing to visiting in person. It brings me joy!
The Flip Side
Why do we need community in our sorrow? Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each others’ burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.” NIV Western culture tries to convince us that we are only strong when we are independent. That we can handle the thing and do it ourselves. But that’s not God’s culture. The truth is, no one truly does anything alone.
A couple of years ago when Kylie Jenner appeared in Forbes magazine as the youngest self-made billionaire, she created an uproar. She built a make-up empire from money that she made modeling. Sure. And I don’t mean to take away from the business savvy she must have to turn it into billions, but she came from money. And a famous family. These things created a serious leg up that most people will never have. As did Donald Trump’s loan of $1 million from his father, a sum the average joe would never qualify for. And may that be the last time I use a Trump or a Kardashian as a devotional illustration!
Back to my point. We all come from somewhere or something that helps us along our way. God first and foremost. Not only does He own all and give all, but 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV describes Him as the ultimate comforter “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” That’s how shared sorrow can be half the sorrow. When we carry it with others, it doesn’t feel as heavy. God comforts us, we comfort others and in turn, they comfort us through life’s obstacles – big and small. It’s a cycle that keeps going when we participate in it.
And it all leads to joy. Share your joy below so we can rejoice with you or share your sorrow below so we can comfort you through prayers and encouragement. And don’t forget to share with your friends and family members IRL. In this small obedience, we can bring the kingdom of God to earth.
And now for this week’s featured post from the link up!
There is not much I like more than historical fiction, so I had to share Linda Stoll’s recommendations as I’ll be checking them out too!
The Link Up
1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.
2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.
3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).
We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.
Now Let’s Link Up!
If you liked this post, do me the huge honor of using the buttons below to share it to your favorite social media accounts. And if you want to get these essays emailed to you once a week, subscribe! Lastly, my posts may contain affiliate links and I earn from qualifying purchases. If you buy anything from one of these links, I will receive a few pennies to help offset the cost of this website at no additional charge to you. Thank you in advance for your help.