Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weirdly joyful

From Donald Miller's blog 4-19-11:

I was having lunch with an accomplished surgeon recently who told me the two words that will kill the heart fastest are the words “ought to.”

The reason I was having lunch with the surgeon was because I was interviewing him for a potential book. He’s a head surgeon at a nationally renowned hospital and does an enormous amount of charity work, even advising the American military on how their hospital ships can be more efficient while being used in disaster relief. If the average doctor saves hundreds of lives in the span of their career, this guy has likely saved hundreds of thousands.

When I asked why he desires to help so many people, his answer surprised me. He said “because it’s fun.” And then he went on to say “I like helping people because I enjoy it, I’m the opposite of an evangelical.” I don’t know if he knew I was a Christian, but the comment came like a curveball and I had nothing to say. I was so accustomed to the passive guilt complex so many of us hear week after week and in book after book that I knew he’d have no shortage of evidence that Evangelicals are constantly being made to do good things they don’t really feel like doing.

In contrast, as I read through the book of Acts, a defining characteristic of the early church is they felt joy in their work. I don’t see a lot of shame and guilt manipulation in Acts, just a bunch of people who act like they are weirdly in love with each other and with God. And I want to emphasize the word weirdly.

Continuing with the question, "Why do I live the way I live?" I have to ask myself in light of Donald Miller's blog:  How much of what I do is fun?

Parenting Worley boys is fun.
Doing life in partnership with Dennis Worley is fun.
Feeding people is fun.
Making a home a place where people are loved and welcomed is fun.
Working in the garden - making things grow - is fun.
Studying the Bible is fun.
Teaching the Bible is fun.
Helping people know and make sense of God is fun.
Leading people to worship God is fun.
Figuring out life together with friends is fun.

And by "fun" I mean these things make me weirdly joyful.

Doesn't mean these things aren't hard, sometimes complicated and frustrating.  But they are things to which my heart says a resounding, "Yes!"  Things I would get up and do all day and come back swinging the next day.  And hearkening back to the question of the week, Meg Ryan's question, "Do I do it because I want to, or because I'm not brave?" I would say these are things I do because I want to, things about which I would not hesitate to be brave, even fierce.

Wouldn't this be the best thing to be known for?  "She was wierdly joyful."

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