Transendent fullness of joy

Ann Voskamp offers her perspective on putting theory into practice in Chapter 9 of One Thousand Gifts: “. . . theories and theology stillbirth unless they can take on some skin, breathe in the polluted air of this world, and make it happen.”  Transcendent fullness of joy will take us from theoretical exploration to living full.  Ann goes on to explain 6 characteristics of this transcendent joy:

1.  While joy is a feeling, it begins with the action of thanksgiving.

2.  Joy doesn’t negate all other emotions; joy transcends them.

3.  Only the self can kill joy.

4.  The palm of an open and humble hand holds the glimmering flame of joy.  A clenched fist points to one’s own selfish rights and demands.  Ann cites the words of Henry Ward Beecher: “Pride slays thanksgiving. . . A proud man is  seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”

5.  It is only through emptying our will that we discover fullness of joy.  Joy means dying to ourselves.

6.  Joy- it’s always obedience to God’s will.  As Peter Kreeft asserts: “No one who ever said to God,’Thy will be done,’ and meant it with his heart, ever failed to find joy- not just in heaven, or even down the road in the future in this world, but in this world at that very moment.”




  1. When I pray I open and extend my hands, palms face up towards Heaven. It is an act, indicating my willingness to approach His throne of grace in an undisturbed manner. What I mean by undisturbed is allowing no other thoughts than concerns for others to go upward undisturbed. I find that if my hands are placed together, fingers inter locked , my mind seems to wander, and the communication between Him and I is broken, is interrputed. Opening my hands allows me to focus on the concerns that I have for others, my requests go unimpeded. A sense of tingling occurs, as I talk to Him and nothing else enters our time together to short circuit our communicating.

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