The Joy Method
There’s been a recent social trend that has exploded in popularity. No, I’m not talking about the latest political MEME. And I’m sure, much to everyone’s dismay, fidget spinners are not making a comeback.
I’m referring to the popular show on Netflix, “Tidying up with Marie Kondo.” If you’re not familiar with the series, Marie Kondo has developed a method of seeking joy in removing personal items that typically just take up space. Clothes, furniture, jewelry and books—nothing is off limits. One of the biggest steps in the process is a cadence of sorts, to verbally state the closure created in parting ways with the specific item(s).
At first, I saw this method as just another trend, which typically triggers a heavy eye roll. I’m not sure if that’s from being a third-culture kid or from my dislike of “clicks”, which is what most trends create. Either way, I’m just not a fan.
No matter where you stand, the results are very real. This method has created a lot of joy and tidiness throughout the world. I hesitate to describe it as joy, mostly because I view joy with reverence on a biblical scale. But Kondo joy is a real thing.
A few weeks ago, not even thinking about the Kondo method, I decided my bedroom needed a serious deep cleaning. Once I was finished cleaning, it was like a rush of joy overcame me. I started looking at other areas of my life, physical and emotional, to “clean up.”
I realized that the joy I was experiencing was in discipline. It got me thinking, “Is this why the ‘Kondo method’ is so popular?” I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be in what we do with that joy that defines our experience. Biblical joy can have many characteristics.
- Joy of redemption. Neh. 8:12—”Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”
- Joy in trust. Job 6:10—“Then I would still have this consolation—my joy in unrelenting pain—that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.”
- Joy in victory. Psalm 20:5 “May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.”
- Joy in sanctification. James 1;2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The biblical values of joy have one trait in common—its source is God’s design. Whenever I experience God-given joy, its format is His fullest creation. We get a taste of it when tidying up, but eventually that well will run dry. There’s only so much clutter that can be removed before you’re back to square one. The difference between tidying-up joy and biblical joy is that the latter never runs dry.
Perhaps sometimes we experience tidying-up joy because of a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. We believe that, somehow, we are the captains of our own ship’s destination: “Look what I did. How far I’ve come. See my success and know that I have done this. I don’t need anything from anyone. I am in control.”
Cleaning up my room sparked a series of positive events, but it’s the Creator I must worship and not the gifts nor abilities He gives. There’s nothing wrong with seeking joy or tidying up. Those are good things. It’s when we seek value in the things rather than the Giver that we confuse their purpose.
Phil. 3:8 says, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
At the end of the day, seeking to glorify the Lord in joy is what a Christian should seek. Everything else, according to Scripture, is “loss.”