Being with young grandchildren and their antics can be joy-filled. There is something about their ability to be fully present, desiring your presence, and watching them that brings overwhelming delight. Relationships with children can bring much joy!
As I spent time with my granddaughters these past few days, I was struck by joy. I became aware of how God might view us as His beloved child and the joy He feels watching us.
What is Joy?
Joy is gladness, a feeling deep within of exceptional satisfaction, emotional happiness, keen pleasure and delight.
I watched my four-year old granddaughter dance in front of me, smiles on her face, bouncing up and down, moving side to side, happy as a clam, fully present in the moment. She was showing me what she was learning in her dance class – “not in order” she said.
Watching her enjoy moving, having fun with her body, showing me what she was learning was pure joy and satisfaction on my part as well as hers.
I wanted to savor the moment and bottle the memory to take with me.
According to research by Barbara Fredrickson of the University of Michigan, we can choose joy and other positive emotions to improve not only our emotions at the moment, but our well-being over time.
Fredrickson’s broaden and build theory reminds us that as we practice joy, for example, we broaden our ability to play, push our limits and be creative.
I certainly was witnessing that as I watched my granddaughter.
I could also continue to witness that as I replay that scene over in my head whenever I revisit that precious moment and bring back joy into my conscious memory.
It’s a wonderful shot of dopamine anytime I have that memory.
What happens when you experience joy, especially over time? What do you notice?
In addition to building our positive emotions, Fredrickson’s research also noted that by focusing on our positive emotions we have the capacity to negate many of our negative emotions. That’s another plus over time in the broaden and build theory.
Other powerful positive emotions include gratitude, love, contentment and interest.
Any memory revisited can build those positive emotions.
It dawned on me as I watched my granddaughter with great delight, that this is how God sees me, too. As a child of God, I bring Him great delight. When I am my joyful self, like my granddaughter, He’s also rejoicing with me.
I was in awe that my joy could bring Him joy. I know I am a child of God.
However, I seldom think about how my actions might bring Him delight and how I might identify with His delight.
I know, too, that He loves me no matter what, but to think about bringing joy to my Father because I am His child is pretty amazing thought as I watch my lovely granddaughter.
I think watching the joy of young children gives us a little glimpse of heaven. They are fully present, not worried about the past, nor peering into the future.
They are enjoying the now and joyfully enjoying their grandparents’ loving presence.
What about you? How have you felt being a child of God and watching your grandchildren bring joy to your life and to His? Any overlap for you? What have you noticed?
Of course, watching grandchildren is not all joy and laughter. It can be really hard work! Yet the good times can be really joyful.
I would love to know your thoughts and experiences of noticing joy and being a child of God. I also would love to walk with you as you look for those fingerprints of God in your daily life. Contact me now.
Nancy Booth helps you discard chaos and get unstuck as you journey towards a well-nourished life after 50. She helps you embrace wellness, purpose and intentional relationships in your life. Her coaching process helps you design your own personal roadmap to help you build a healthy, purposeful and peaceful mind, body and soul. She would love to walk your journey with you, the life you’ve always wanted.
This was first published on Faith Hacker, March, 2018