How do you do with outward expressions of joy? Can you imagine doing as David suggests in Psalm 30? Turning from wailing (which is very much a bodily reaction) to dancing (also a bodily reaction)? “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever” (Psalm 30:11,12).
Our Creator gave us each a body that is equipped to express both grief and joy. These bodily reactions help us grieve and celebrate with God and with our fellow women and men.
What does joy look like? Think of the contagious happiness of a puppy—the full-body wiggles and joy spasms when it sees a beloved person. Think of the unguarded enthusiasm and bodily expression of a small child with an ice cream cone or a birthday present. Think of an adult celebrating a touchdown from a favorite football team.
This same emotion can be channeled into our worship of God. As we grow closer to the Lord and experience his joy, we can relax into our bodily reactions to his love. We can let down our guard and by his Spirit overflow with gratitude that is not childish but childlike.
Does this seem daunting? Try something simple—read the psalms out loud, using your voice to express the emotions the psalmists describe. Are there other ways to integrate your whole self in your worship of God?