Why Isn't It Easy to Share Joy

I hear the words, let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…when you read you begin with a,b,c, when you relate, you begin with sharing JOY.

Over 2 years ago I began studying relational brain skills with Thrive Today who is led by Chris and Jen Coursey by first reading their book, Transforming Fellowship, 19 Brain Skills that Build Joyful Community. As I was reading the book I realized, I don’t know these skills and need practical help. My husband and I decided to attend a one week Thrive 1 training that was offered in early 2019. There we were taught the 19 brain skills by way of examples and exercises. The first skill we learned and practiced was Skill 1, Share Joy. Share joy as described by Thrive Today is “Facial expressions and voice tones amplify: ‘We’re glad to be together!’” What I noticed upon practicing share joy, in fact it was a lot harder practicing sharing joy than I would have thought. Sometimes just smiling at my husband when I am in work mode feels like walking up a hill.

We are either joy chaser or fear trackers. As I have learned the past several years, when I am fear tracking, I am not sharing joy, a brain can’t do both at once. We are in a different part of our brain, the amygdala, which only asks the question, is this good bad or scary? In this part of the brain, without help, it is impossible to get to the part that chases joy. If my brain is stuck, like in mud, all I can see is bad and scary and there is no good I can see in the presenting situation. In this place, our brain is most likely in overwhelm too. Overwhelm is feeling- too much, too soon, too hard, too fast and then my relational brain shuts off, I want to flee, freeze or fight.

For those of you who identify with tracking fear and overwhelm, this is a painful place, joy is hard to find let alone hold onto for more than a few seconds let alone a minute. As I was sitting with Immanuel in prayer about this pain, He gently, showed me my internal shield & sword. Immanuel wasn’t mad that I had this sword/shield. He understood completely why I did but He did have something else to offer me. After I saw the sword/shield, Immanuel offered me a puppy. A puppy? Really Immanuel? I said, “I am not giving up my sword/shield.” Immanuel replied, “I am not asking you to give them up.” I was in a dilemma as I love puppies. I checked out again, “Immanuel, you won’t take this sword/shield if I put it down.” Immanuel said, “Lori that is not who I am.” I put them down so I could hold the puppy. Lost in enjoying the puppy, I didn’t even notice that Immanuel is gone and I only hear Him return. This time He is holding a kitten. Oh no, I love kittens too. He extends the kitten to me. I am now holding both. I look at the shield/sword and I realize I don’t want to put the puppy or kitten down. As I look around the room, I notice it is a dark room, not much light, air or beauty. It is dank and even smells. I see a door. Immanuel is now standing at the door. As I walk up to Him I see the sword/shield at Immanuel’s feet by the door. Immanuel invites me to go outside, He even opens the door and bids me to come out with Him. I want to go with Him but then He says, “The shield/sword, they can’t join you out here but the puppy and kitten can. Immanuel promises me: “I will never leave you or forsake you, Lori. You do not need the sword/shield because I will be with you and you will be with Me.” I said, “Where are we going?” He said, “Home.” As I looked down at the sword/shield, I saw they didn’t feel or look like anything Immanuel would give me. In fact, I realized this is from someone who doesn’t like me at all, actually wants to devour me. I turned to Immanuel and said, “I want to go home with You.” We walked out of the room, shut the door to the room, a room I had lived in for far too long. We are now headed home, together. I feel Immanuel is glad to be with me. We are sharing joy and I want to invite you to join us. Will you join us?

Share Joy- Facial expressions and voice tones amplify: ‘We’re glad to be together!’”