Is Joy Always Fun? - Kris Vallotton

December 26, 2016

My Wife, Our Lighthouse

In the early ’80s Kathy and I owned an auto parts store, and we (let’s be real, mostly I) decided to expand our business. My decision had a negative effect on our cash flow to the point that we barely had money to feed our family. Our three children were young at the time, so Kathy set up her desk in our home and did all of our accounting and finance oversight, while simultaneously taking care of our small children.

One night I came home to our small house and was bewildered that the lights were all off inside the house. At first I thought my family was gone, until I eyed Kathy’s car covered in snow in our driveway. My heart pounded out of my chest as I apprehensively turned the knob and opened the front door. When I breached the doorway, I saw our wood stove glowing red, the fire crackling within. The rest of the house was completely dark, except for two lanterns that dimly lit the living room just in front of me. The furniture was pushed to the walls, and three little tents made out of blankets occupied the room. With my heart still pounding, I yelled, “Is anybody home?” Suddenly, three little people stuck their heads out of their makeshift tents and yelled, “Hi, Daddy!” Surprised, I asked what they were doing. “We are camping!” they proclaimed, laughing in unison.

Just then Kathy rushed into the living room looking alarmed. I followed her outside, questioning her along the way.  A second later she was staring at the electrical panel on the side of the house. “I am turning on the electricity,” she said nervously. I demanded to know what she was doing! “I am doing what I can to help our family through this lean time,” she responded, obviously trying not to make me feel bad. Kathy had budgeted our electric bill and during the day, she would shut the main breaker off to stay within her budget, and then she would turn it back on before I got home so I wouldn’t have to live in a dark house.

Our kids weren’t upset that there was no money, because their mother made a game out of our challenge. Not only did our children learn how to be resourceful, but their mother also taught them how to find joy in hard situations, how to live with a positive attitude all the time, and how to work hard for the things we wanted.

Potter’s Wheel or Perfection

Kathy’s attitude is foreign to most of us today. Society longs for a trouble-free life, a magic pill, a euphoric marriage, and the state of constant ecstasy. Many people dream of a perfect world, where perfect people live out a perfect life. But the truth is that between the promise of your destiny and the palace of your dreams is the process of the potter’s wheel. It is on this wheel that you are fashioned for your destiny and formed for your future.

Sometimes people mistake finding fun for finding joy in circumstances. Many spend their entire fortunes trying to have fun, in hopes that pleasure will bring them some great sense of fulfillment. It may be because we often teach about joy and fun as if the words were synonymous. Nothing could be further from the truth! A Spirit-led life isn’t always fun, but it is always filled with joy.

I am also not saying that we need to be optimists rather than pessimists, but that we need to be believers. Both optimists and believers manifest positive attitudes, but for very different reasons. An optimist sees the glass half-full, but a believer knows it’s not the level of the water in the glass that matters as much as whether or not it’s being filled or depleted. When you walk by faith, you tap into a well of unlimited resources. Believing in Jesus is not a preconditioned mental attitude toward life’s circumstances, but the acknowledgment that your temporal conditions are subject to His supernatural power!

So where are you putting your faith? Are there any situations in your life currently that could use an injection of joy? I want to encourage you to rest on the potter’s wheel, knowing that God’s power and resources are unlimited! Take that situation, invite Holy Spirit to speak to you about His perspective on it, and partner with the infinite resources He has for you in it! And, as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I’d also like to share a download of  “Nine Keys to Breaking Negative Ecosystems in Your Life” from my new book, Destined to Win. Join my mailing list to get this free download and other news about the blog!

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