Joy isn’t complicated or mystical. You don’t need a sermon to understand it. This is joy: It bubbles up out of you effortlessly on regular occasions. It settles around you like a breeze. It’s a deep breath of satisfaction and an energy that pushes you upwards, forwards.

Have you felt that recently? Lassoing the experience of joy with mere words is nearly impossible. But surely you can recall the instances of your own joy. Deep joy encapsulates a moment and freezes it forever with a unique clarity.

I don’t think our society has an abundance of people who are deeply satisfied with their life. Many are settled into an easy life, but not one that regularly takes their breath away. Their ability to dream and take new risks is frozen. Sadly, this lack of joy can be seen overflowing into tragedies and pain inflicted on others.

Risking a Settled Life

Five years ago we realized we were frozen, living a predictable life and busy being the most dependable church people we could be. Yet, we were leaking whatever the oil is that keeps those good, responsible people ticking. Life stretched in front of us in one monotonous stream. Gazing into our future didn’t summon up any excitement whatsoever. We had a beautiful family and were too distracted to put it first.

We started asking touchy questions. Why are we bored? Is it okay that a life pattern good enough for everyone else no longer fits  us? Can we put our family first and still please God? Can we leave a faith community that makes us all feel like square pegs? Can we restart life another city? Can we juggle our budget to travel together really frequently? What will happen to us if we step out of the only life we have known as a family?

The very things we were afraid to let go of turned out to be what was hindering this joy. Simply because of this: joy sprouts from the freedom to pursue the unknown, to follow a God adventure beyond the boundaries of the predictable setting.

Each of us started to read our Bibles with fresh eyes. Together, we discovered a God with epic plans and far different requirements than we ever imagined. He is neither rigid nor exasperated, and doesn’t have to be begged to come down and get involved. We don’t have to jump through endless hoops to garner his attention. As it turns out, God is always eagerly waiting to partner in our process. All it takes to unlock a joyful adventure is bravery, trust, and the willingness as a family to risk our settled life.

Why Not You?

Be alarmed, if you can’t recall the last time pure and effortless joy came surging up from the core of your being. Something is missing for your family and it’s worth the risk to pursue it! Explore your options; shake things up. Ask scary questions. Seek out the help you are definitely worthy of! Don’t be afraid; don’t apologize. We are certain that for each family, God has tailored an adventure that will positively light us up. The moment you gather your wits to go for it, he will back you up. And our family will cheer you on!

Written by Melissa Brendtro