Complete My Joy

I've been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately. One of the most loving and gracious women I know. A true lady. One thing she was known for were her forwarded emails. Now we use social media, but in the late nineties, our forwarding avenue of choice was an "email chain." Paul Revere would surely be proud of our forwarded communication progression . Circa 1999, the chain came through a dialed dinging and hissing email. You know the sort. You read some lovely poem surrounded by angel clip art then you get to the bottom. "You have 12.267 seconds to send this to 13 1/2 friends. If you do, you will meet the love of your life. If you don't, you will lose a limb. Your time starts now."

For some reason, I still remember one my grandma sent me titled, "I'm drinking from my saucer for my cup has overflowed."  I used to think they were cheesy, but I can't tell you how many times I've been knocked over by Holy Spirit, and I thought about my own overflowing cup.

The Parental Joy Spill

One of these said moments often happens when I see my toddling boys love each other. Don't get me wrong, there's gnarly fireworks, but then there are these tender moments when big brother's dimpled hand reaches for a smaller dimpled hand to offer assistance down the stairs, or the good morning hugs and squeals, or the complete lack of personal space because they just can't seem to get enough of each other. The joy as a parent is indescribable in those moments. It doesn't take away from the constant bubbling joy of simply being their parent, but something about watching them love each other causes the joy to spill. 

Philippians 2 

A certain phrase from Philippians 2 has merry-go-rounded my heart and mind lately. "...make my joy complete..." Here it is in context.

Therefore if any of you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in His Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love and being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition of conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interest, but each of you to the interests of others.
— Philippians 2:1-5 NIV

 Just recently, the dots connected for me. My boys and I had just sat down for a nice "quiet" dinner. I look over to witness the big brother spit, I mean, blow on the little brother's food because it was too hot. No one asked him to help. He saw a need and met it out of love for his brother. As joy poured from my heart, I felt God whisper, "That's how I feel when my kids love each other. It makes my joy complete." I was undone.

Standing Ovation

Yes, the author Paul, as a spiritual father, felt complete joy, but I think when we love each other, God our heavenly Father's joy is complete, too. It spills. In parallel, we have the Trinity's full applause over our lives simply because we are His. But when we love each other? I think that's a standing ovation from our Dad.

 While God's standing ovation is gloriously overwhelming to consider, the applause is meant to nourish and then motivate. In a slight misconception, I thought that straying from selfish ambition and vain conceit or pursuing unity with my sisters in Christ was for my good and the good of others receiving. In the same way I ask my sons to obey because it is best for them and those around them, I thought my obedience to unity was required because it was best for me. Now I know it's more! Our primary focus for unity can be Jesus, our example. One more way to love Him back. One more way to make Him happy. One more way to honor Him.

We have an opportunity.

 It's a beautiful love cycle we can choose to be a part of. He breathes the breath to our lungs, we pour out His love to each other, His joy spills, we sip from His saucer, and it cycles on an eternal repeat. What an opportunity to join Him in what He's already doing!

Join the Conversation

When do you feel the Father's standing ovation over your life? When does your own joy cup spill over? How can you pour your joy out to others as worship to Jesus?