Why I Won’t Ask For Grace For My Joy

January 15, 2015

Two posts in a row about joy. What’s the world coming to?

You know how last week I wrote on digging for joy? It’s hard work, I will never discount the effort going into it on my part or anyone’s for that matter. If you’re out there, digging, I’m with you, holding a light when the dark rolls in. Keep going, you’re doing a great work!

It’s not a work hard and then you get to sit-with-your feet-up-type deal. So, as I read more and more about a particular topic last week, I grew more confident this would be my next soul share.

Have I Offended You?

Oh let me count the ways. Walking through my life I have had times where I unknowingly offended someone. Lucky for me,  introspection was something my mom encouraged at a young age. While saying you have introspection is about as humble as saying “I’m humble,” the thought surrounding it is solid + it’s where I’m headed.

Turning my thoughts to this article, made me think:

Has our society created a culture where we can no longer share joy because it might wound someone’s wound?

Oh yes friends. This is real. And it’s a movement.

This particular blog talked about how someone’s careless comment about their joy, made them feel even more alone in their hurt. Graceless Joy is what I termed what they were trying to capture.

The kind of example of Graceless Joy would look something like this in a social situation:

I go to a lunch with a group of girlfriends. Some I know well and others are acquaintances. We share about our week, the highs and lows, and one of the girls shares that she celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary with a surprise vacation from her husband! Another woman at the table is in a bad patch with her husband and they are on the brink of divorce. Hearing this made her angry at the woman for being so happy about her anniversary trip in front of her because it polarized the intensity of her hurt. [End Scene]

The woman celebrating her anniversary + sharing about her surprise from her husband has now officially burdened and hurt the woman, whom she does not know is going through this, and therefore has lacked grace and has offended and hurt the other woman.

Receiver Expectations

My soul churned that night thinking about whether the beat of my chest from my heart’s rapid beat was convicting me or stirring me to speak? Reading through a few books with some great coffee, resting in the moments and sifting through the “other side’s” comments, I came to the conclusion that getting to the joy could indeed be burdensome to the beholder. But we weren’t talking about the beholder, we were talking about the receiver.

My Question: Is it gracious to expect people we don’t know well, to abstain from sharing their joys because it could possibly re-wound or offend the burdened heart?

My Response: I won’t ask for grace for my joy with how it’s being demanded in this example.

You Have Two Shoes

The joy-haver + the joy-wounded. On any given day, I could be wearing the joy-haver’s shoes + the next, the joy-wounded. Heck, in one day, I could be the joy-haver in one area of my life and the wounded in another.

Is it my expectation that everyone “keep up”? Is it gracious of me to expect that if they don’t know my story — that I have intentionally not shared with everyone — for them not to offending?

What happens if this occurs between a close a friend, what about then? Does my same solution apply?

Undeniably we should ask for grace in situations and it doesn’t just have to be a close friend. Blatantly walking into a situation declaring how easy it was my husband and I to conceive our two boys, when I know the struggles of a friend’s fertility…that would be graceless joy. It’s not that the joy is bad, but the delivery, failure to read a room or gauge the audience receiving it, is the error. For that, yes. Grace. Please! Rain it down!

Which leads me to another question: How well do we know one another? Working in social media for years, I know that most people average 1000-2000 friends on Facebook. That doesn’t include anywhere else you’ve placed your life on display.

Think of a large room you’ve been in. Maybe it’s a church, a school gym, or an amphitheater classroom. If we filled that stadium full, how many people would you say you know?

You know their struggles.

You know their hurts.

You know their story. The story. The real story.

You know their hearts.

For me, I think I’d be pushing it if I said 20 people.

Years ago, without the influence of social media, people weren’t sharing their joys or hurts with more than that handful of people I just mentioned. The reality is that we’re the same that we were 20 years ago, but we’re operating like we have the capacity to handle all relationships equally. In telling ourselves this, we allow the impact of someone’s words to penetrate an area of our hearts, that wouldn’t have been accessible to the general public.

My thoughts settled here. Instead of isolating ourselves amongst thousands of people who unknowingly offend us, why don’t we start intimately surrounding ourselves with a handful of people who truly know us? The time investment alone in that handful of relationship could take a lifetime to gain such solid joys.

And for the multitude that don’t know us, maybe we should all have more grace for each other in general when come into contact with one another. In the future, when I share, I will strive to be more in-tune with a social climate and be preparing for how to handle myself, when I’m once again the receiver.

Let’s all not be alone anymore.

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