The girl looked to be about ten years old. Slowly, she rose from her chair. Putting one hand on the back of the chair, and one hand at her side, she began to hop from one foot to the other.
Her smile gave birth to a grin as she warmed to the dance. Her parents swayed and clapped out the time, smiling their encouragement.
I was in an Irish restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day. My sister made reservations well in advance and we had a prime table. We were right in front of the stage. A three-man Irish band played fiddle, guitar and tin whistle while Irish dancers clicked out the beat with their hard shoes.
But the real show was at the table behind me.
The music and dancing was so infectious that the shy little girl was transformed. She knew she wasn’t like the pros on the stage, but that didn’t matter. It was impossible for her to sit still.
Her jubilant dance rippled over to her parents who encouraged her steps. Losing herself in the rhythm of the fiddle, her joy washed over all of us.
That’s the power of joy.
Every life has this power. Every soul has this joy.
I have a choice. I can cooperate with the grace of joy that fills me, or ignore it. How I choose will not only make my life a dance, but it can also bubble over to everyone I meet.
We all have people who look to us. We have families, friends, co-workers, and church friends. The number of people doesn’t matter. It matters that I realize that there are people who will be affected by my attitude and spirit.
Everyday, good things happen and bad things too. The challenge is to decide to be an inspirational song, no matter what is happening. And my choice won’t just affect me. My actions and words have power. There are people watching.
That’s a lot of influence, isn’t it?
But God only has you and me to encourage another person (or a whole room) to dance with joy. He is hoping that I will allow others to see his gifts in me, and give him praise.
It’s easy to be negative; it’s easy to just sit. But that’s not what God calls us to do. We’re supposed to be like his Son. Although Jesus faced challenges, his joy radiated to everyone he met. Always on the move, always available to pray; his life inspired and healed.
The same power of the Spirit that was in Christ rains down on all us every day. And it’s renewed every morning. The grace of joy is a gift, but not to own. It’s to share.
Every morning, I have a choice. Do I get up and dance to the tune of joy, or do I stay mute in my chair?
I think I’ll let that ten year old lead me. I think she’s got the right idea.
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