The Joyful Decrease

The Joyful DecreaseFinding a blog name that has not already been used is actually very hard. There was a month there where I would whip out my phone every so often and frantically google a random phrase I had thought of, only to find it had already been taken by some blogger in 2009 who had long-ago abandoned the URL but had none-the-less stolen another possible blog name from me.

It was a very traumatic process.

The Joyful Decrease was kind of an accident… I had been thinking of names for a blog that had to do with joy and positivity for a while. For the sake of honesty I’ll just be frank and say I’m not an optimistic person by nature. But I do like the idea of happiness as much as anybody, and over the past month or so I have been learning a little bit about true joy, not just warm fuzzy positivity. I was on a run when the idea for The Joyful Decrease came to me (which is really funny because when I’m running usually the only thought I’m thinking is “I’m-going-to-die I’m-going-to-die I’m-dying“).

It comes from a passage in John 3 that says:

“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John the Baptist is explaining here why he is not jealous that Jesus is gathering more followers than John, and its because right away he realizes something that I am just starting to learn. “This joy of mine has been made full”. The coming of Jesus fills John’s heart with joy, because Jesus is the source of joy. John does not need the attention or praise of people to make him satisfied, because his true Satisfaction has come.

I used to think whenever people would quote this verse that they were being all showy spiritual, like “He must increase and I must decrease, I’m going to be all sacrificial and humble and make myself feel like nothing for Jesus” but I’m realizing that is not it at all. There is humility involved, but I’m learning that its more about recognizing that all joy comes from Jesus, and in a desire to have more of that joy I’m going to get myself out of the way so there’s room for more of Jesus in my life. Its an acknowledgement that I cannot produce my own joy and a declaration that I want to see the Giver of my joy lifted high, which brings even more joy. Its a beautiful cycle of fullness that I’m just now learning how to tap into.

This joy of mine has been made full and is being made full. It has been made full in the person of Jesus. I’m still learning how to live that truth in a world that promises joy everywhere but Him. I would be lying to tell you that I live every day walking in sunshine and rainbows because I’ve got the joy down in my heart. There are still a lot of days that I walk in confusion and frustration, too many days when I forsake the joy that could be mine in my attempts to follow my own plan. But I’m learning daily about living in His grace, and it sets me free to learn and grow and find my joy as I lift Him high.

So this blog is going to be a place where I share those things, stories of His goodness and faithfulness as well as lessons I’ve learned and probably too many CS Lewis quotes along the way. (Is too many CS Lewis quotes even a thing?)

That’s The Joyful Decrease. Its the ongoing story of my journey, and yours too I pray, to give Jesus His place as my grandest and most fulfilling joy. I am learning how to decrease, but it is not a sacrifice. Lifting Him high is the greatest, most beautiful, and ultimately most joyful thing I know.

(And also, if I ever get that knitting business started that I’ve always dreamed about, The Joyful Decrease would double as a great name for that company. Knitters, nod knowingly at my clever knitting pun. Non-knitters, rethink your life choices.)


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