I used to keep joy, and consequently potential bringers of joy, at arm’s length, without even realizing I was doing it.
Now, I’m letting it in more often than not. It’s wildly, insanely good.
Unfortunately, I’m finding I have never really dealt with all the hurt I have experienced in the past. Just as I was numb to the joy, I was also numb to the pain–an emotional defense mechanism operating like a well-oiled machine.
But one cannot let in the joy without letting the yucky stuff in with it. Of late, I have been feeling some of that long-buried hurt and anger. It has been taking me by surprise. Sadly, I have found myself unleashing it on any handy target.
Guess what? My sources of joy are way too handy. I end up unloading pain and anger on the people I love the most. Blaming them for things they had nothing to do with. Responding with anger that is way disproportionate to any perceived slight.
I’m not used to accepting this gift Father lavishes on me. It brings to mind the saying, “give her an inch, she’ll take a mile.” Give me a little joy, and I try to put it in my pocket, keep it for myself, cling to it, demand more of it. Since experiencing this level of joy is new for me, I need Father every single hour of the day to remind me from whom it comes. I need his constant reminder that I can’t control it, and by trying, I dilute it or push it away.