Dear New Hope,
I have been accused of being intimidating. My wife has said it, my kids have suggested it, and my kids’ friends have affirmed it. For many years, I would deny such ridiculous accusations, defending that I am a truly joyful person while simultaneously looking like an unhappy pit bull growling at an intruder. Maybe they are right.
One of my co-workers, who shall remain unnamed, approached me in the office a couple months. Bob Cook had a big smile on his face, grabbed my shoulder and said: “Dude, you have got to stop walking around here like someone died. You need to smile!” Bob is right. And that annoys me.
I blame it on my German heritage. The serious face with a furrowed brow runs deep in the Trierweiler blood and gives the impression that I am an unapproachable curmudgeon. I have moments when I look like Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, who paces the sideline with a “don’t come near me and don’t talk to me” face. In spite of leading one of the most remarkable teams in history, Belichick is well known for his unapproachable scowl and inability to smile. A recent new article says that Belichick “could go to 8,000 Super Bowls in a row and he’s still going to scowl like the Grumpy Lobster Boat Captain.” Maybe Belichick is a relative of mine.
Contrast Coach Belichick with the radiating joy of gymnast Katelyn Ohashi’s, whose perfect ten gym routine has gone viral on the web. If you haven’t watched her 2-minute routine, pull up a video online and do so. Ohashi’s performance is a demonstration that it is possible to do something exceedingly well and simultaneously have an immense amount of fun doing it!
In a news article called “A Must-See Gymnast, and the Meaning of Joy,” Jason Gay writes:
The main reason I think people are sharing the Katelyn Ohashi video: It’s joyful. It’s so, so joyful. It radiates warmth and glee. There’s a playfulness to her routine…This is going to sound pretentious, but whatever: I think Ohashi’s routine is a radiant expression of what it means for a human being to be very, very good at something—and to want to share that with everyone.
In other words, Ohashi is the exact opposite of Belichick. Both are extremely good at their careers, but Ohashi’s radiant expression actually shows her delight in what she does.
Here’s a bit of honesty to prove to my wife and Bob Cook that I’m not 100% German curmudgeon, (I’m frowning as I write this.) After I finished watching Ohashi’s joy-filled, perfect ten routine, I sat in a coffee shop with tears flowing down my face. Somehow her radiant joy broke through the tough Trierweiler exterior and tapped into an internal tenderness that made me think: I want that! What Ohashi did in 2 minutes was exude a joy in her craft which I long for in mine. It’s as if my heart was exploding with: “I don’t want to be a pastor who walks around like long-face Belichick! I want to be a pastor who exudes the radiant expression of joy that Ohashi has!”
Anyhow, joy is a missing ingredient in many of us who are followers of Jesus. That is why I pray for an increase of joy this year for myself and the church. I am praying for a “Perfect 10” display of joy that burns inwardly in our hearts and radiates brilliantly on our faces. It is time to stop pacing the sidelines of life like a Grumpy Lobster Boat Captain and begin performing our craft with the all-consuming joy of a bouncy gymnast. After all, we serve an awesome God who has reversed death, conquered sin, and has written the end of the story in which we win!
Join me in praying these passages of joy for the church of New Hope in 2019:
Ps 4:7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
Ps 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
Ps 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy
Neh 8:10 And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Goodbye, Belichick frown and Trierweiler scowl. Hello, Ohashi joy. May the joy of Jesus Christ shine upon our faces even as we do our work.
You are loved,