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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: Chief Thief
By Larry Elliott


Have you ever had anything stolen from you?

My wife stole my joy this morning. It is her birthday.

I had plans. We were scheduled to attend an early morning function for our granddaughter, but at the last minute my wife decided she would not be going. This threw a big stick into my spokes.

I had planned to surprise my wife on the way to the school with a stop at her favorite clothing store and carte blanche on a new outfit. Surprise!

I insisted she go. She refused.

I insisted more firmly. She resisted.

I begged. She silently continued to flitter around the kitchen.

Then I pulled out the big guns- guilt trip. She would not be moved.

By now she believes I have forgotten what day it is and I am frustrated (frustration is a very gentle depiction) because my surprise is categorically foiled.

I had much joy in my heart last night when I devised this scheme.

It is gone now and replaced with feelings much less desirable.

At this time we are both at work and I still dare not predict the outcome.

I did give her the card I bought and wished her a happy birthday (yeah right, like that’s going to happen now), but too late. The moment is gone.

The above scenario is but one of many tactics the master thief has employed to steal the joy rightfully mine. However I do not intend to give even the chief thief undo credit, for this time my faulty ego comes into play along with my reaction to unmet expectations. (I am a man, what else is there to say?)

Why, why, why do I fall for the same snares over and over and over? I ask myself often.
Then… oh yeah, only after I relax and the damage has been done does my mind override my emotions and regain control long enough to prompt me to pick up the instruction manual for such situations.

“The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I (Jesus) came that you may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows.)” John 10:10 Amplified Bible

Let me list a few things that can steal our joy.

How about focusing on the wrong things? Like say, disappointments (hmm). Giving too much attention to disappointment in things and/or people is a real joy killer. We should instead (but I usually tarry on this issue) indulge in praises to God for the ninety-nine billion good things in our life.

How about (here’s the biggie) sin?

Sin severs the connection between God and us. Now where is the joy in that? Fortunately (for us), God is quick to forgive the repentant heart and restore our right standing. (Yippee. Happy days are here again. For now.)

Let’s not forget fear, depression or anxiety. How can anyone be happy when they are afraid or depressed? Fear and joy are akin to dark and light. They simply cannot co-exist.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 New King James

And the list goes on and on.

Now, let us jump back to the second sentence of this article. Just for the record my wife did not steal my joy. Ok? I gave it away.

Happy birthday, Honey

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This article has been read 726 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Birdie Courtright05/26/06
Touche! Am I married to you? I'm a thinkin' I've done that a time or two or three or...who's counting, right? I'm sorry, honey. Yep, you got me. I've been self-centered enough to allow my husband's joy to go right out the window. I'm pretty sure men everywhere would identify with your perspective and gain from your wisdom here!
Helen Murray05/26/06
Leaves me sad. I'd like to know how you retrieved your joy, seeing that you gave it away.
Suzanne R05/28/06
You make some good points.

One question (not a criticism) - what about clinical depression or anxiety? Can joy co-exist with something that has a chemical basis?

Well done.