Remember the song I've Got the Joy from Sunday school? I loved singing that song and I still remember the childish joy I had in my heart when I thought about Jesus. I knew for sure that it was Jesus who put that joy there and I was, well...joyful about it. Now that I am an adult, joy doesn't come bubbling up in me unbiddingly, as it did when I was a child. I still have the joy in my heart, and I am just as sure today that it is Jesus who placed it there as I was all those years ago, but the way I show it, and perhaps even feel it, differ greatly now than it did then.
I am not an exuberant, raucous, sparkling person. I don't leap for joy outwardly in my most excited moments even though inside I feel it deeply. I have always envied people who just exude enthusiasm and sparkle. I love to be around them because they inspire me to come out of my shell more. I am more of the deep-thinker-look-before-you-leap kind of person and this can sometimes cause others to believe I am disengaged from what is going on around me, which is not my intention, so I try my best to put others at ease by stepping outside my comfort zone as often as I can. Listening to Worship Leaders who are uninhibited in their exuberance and heartfelt joy when they worship always inspires me to push myself a little further. I know that God made me as I am and that I might not ever be a gregarious, extroverted celebrator, but I do think God wants me to challenge myself in getting comfortable with exuding his joy, not just in print, or inside my heart, but on the outside as well.
Psalm 30:11 says: You have turned my wailing into dancing: you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. I love the word picture that this verse creates because, throughout my life I feel deeply that God has done just this very thing for me. He took my old, ratty life, full of failure and grief and gave me a new life full of pure joy. There is nothing more comforting than wrapping myself in that joy and wearing it on my body. You've heard the phrase 'she wears her heart on her sleeve'? Well, this is the same thing, my joy should encase my whole body so that I respond to everything from that stance. How can I keep from shouting, exclaiming and praising God if I wear my joy on my body like a cloak? I don't think it's possible, and neither did the Psalmist, based on verse 12 which says: ...that my heart will sing to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever. Beautiful words, those are. Inspiring and challenging.
As I said earlier, I am immensely inspired by passionate worship music leaders, so I will leave you with some links to some of my favorites in the hopes that they will inspire you to great joy and worshipful praise as they have done for me.
Phil Wickham - Cannons
Chris Tomlin - I Will Rise
Lincoln Brewster - Today is the Day
Tenth Ave North - Hold My Heart