The other evening, I saw the movie, Inside Out. I enjoyed it immensely and found it a fresh take on understanding our emotions and the joy and pain of growing up. The movie personalizes our different emotions of joy, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger. They live within our mind known as the Headquarters and direct our thoughts and actions. The story centers upon a young girl, Riley, who must deal with the trauma of moving with her family from Minnesota to San Francisco. Along the way, there is a tumultuous struggle between her emotions, usually led by Joy.
What captivated me about this movie is the constant and humorous interactions between the emotions. When Sadness seemed to take over, Joy would quickly intervene, attempting to rescue the moment. Joy did everything possible to make sure Riley would not be brought down by Sadness. That is all I will state about the plot. No movie spoilers in this blog!
As I reflected upon the movie, I easily saw myself in the emotions competing within Riley. How often do I want my life to be continually filled with joy? Go away sadness, anger, disgust, and fear! I just want the emotion of joy. I want to see the world through rose-colored glasses with my glass half-full and my potential only limited by my imagination!
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
James 1:2 (ESV)
Yes, joy is an emotion but for the Christian believer, it is so much more. It is more than contentment, more than delight, more than the absence of anger or disgust. It is resting in the comfort and knowledge that God is in control of all circumstances and causing everything to work together for His glory. It the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.
The Apostle James reminds us that we will encounter trials. We will encounter sadness, anger, disgust and fear. But we should not seek to push them out of our mind but allow these to be used by God to strengthen and perfect our faith, so that we “may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:4)
And when we allow God to take us through these trials, joy will result. It is not just the emotion but the complete and fullest expression of joy, the way God intended it to be.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.