Write Brilliant

I woke up this morning praying for you. Sometimes ya’ll are just on my heart in ways I can’t quite explain.The following story came to mind, and I sense you or someone you know might need to hear it.

A few years ago, I wrote a book about joy where I tell the story of returning to the chemo ward for yet another brutal round of treatment. It was more than I could handle.

I swung by a local party store on our way to the infusion center. My right hand clutched a bundle of red balloons. 🎈 Intent on passing out them out, I approached the long corridor of chairs filled with infusion patients . . .

A frail woman occupied the first chair.

“My name is Margaret, and I’ve had a really difficult time in treatment. I’m in the fight of my life,” I said. “I don’t want to be here today, and I bet you don’t either. I want to give you this red balloon in hope that it would bring you joy.”

The woman smiled as she extended her arm: “I’d like that.”

Turning to the man next to her, I repeated my offer, but with a different result.

“Not now,” he said with bone-tiredness, “but thank you very much.”

I approached the woman across from him.

“I don’t need a balloon, but I do need a hug,” she preempted. 🤗

I reached down and wrapped my arms around her neck. The man who rejected my balloon cleared his throat, interrupting our moment.

“Wait,” he protested. “I didn’t know you were giving away free hugs.”

I wrapped my arms around him, too.

One by one, I shuffled my way down the row, introducing myself and handing out balloons for nearly an hour. By the time I finished giving them all away, I had been inflated with just enough courage to take my seat and face the suffering that would come. That’s when I discovered:

Joy is a gift we can offer even when we don’t possess it ourselves.

When we give it away freely, something mysterious happens: Joy multiplies.

Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

I always thought of the container as something external we hold as we watch it being filled, pressed down, shaken, and filled up more. I never considered that we are the containers. God fills us.

One of the best ways to receive joy is to give joy.

Like me, you may not always feel like it–especially this holiday season. The day you need joy most may be the one you want to offer it the least.

Give anyway and give generously.

Take the leap.

Slip a grumpy store clerk a kind word of thanks. Give that friend who’s always down on herself a compliment. Flash a smile to strangers who seem to be having a hard day. Drop off a surprise bouquet. Send a card. Hand out a balloon. Offer a five-second hug. Then wait to see what kind of fruit these seeds of joy bear.

As you pour joy into others, joy will be poured into you.

By the way, the book I wrote was originally titled, Fight With Joy, until an editor asked, “Why are you so mad at Joy? What did she do to you?” 😂

That’s when the book and Bible study were retitled, Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fear. 

I’m still wildly grateful for that editor.

Love you, my friend,


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