“Love is what exists between people who find their joy in each other’s joy.” – Tullian Tchividjian, Unfashionable.
I’m sure that I’ve come across this concept in other writings, but Tchividjian puts it concisely and clearly. Mrs. Random and I have talked about this many times. Sorry to say I’ve not been as good at this as she is, but we try. It really isn’t too hard when we keep our eyes off of ourselves and our needs, wants and desires. OK. I guess it can be difficult since it is so easy to find myself looking out for me. Yet when I focus on Linda or others and find ways to foster her joy even in little things it is wonderful – and I think I might enjoy her joy more than she does! I’m pretty sure that the feeling is mutual. It doesn’t even have to be something big. A favorite chocolate bar, or a stop at a quilt store, may bring some to the greatest smiles from her. I can’t speak for her, but she seems to really enjoy it whenever I enjoy something. Which means I enjoy her joy at my joy which brings her more joy which means I … wow!
Imagine if we practiced this, not only with our spouses, but with our friends – actually all those whom God has called us to love. What if we didn’t even have to think about it – that it was just who we were? I’d like to hope that I could love like that. It would be a good thing for a pastor!
Of course there is a danger of getting self-centered in this. When I enjoy bringing delight to my wife, or a happy moment to a friend, or something fun to my kids or grandkids because I feel good or want the focus to be on me, I selfishly undermine the “gift” – not to mention my integrity. I think I cheapen the relationship as well. Thank God for grace!
The thought that blows me away most is that God, as ultimate lover, takes joy in my joy. It amazes me that I should matter that much. This too is grace!