Click above to listen to Vive La Joye from the album A Thousand Years as you read, featuring one of Beethoven’s famous melodies (Vive La Joye means “joy forever” in old French). If you enjoy, consider purchasing the song, album download, or CD from iTunes or stantonlanier.com (where sheet music is also available). There is also a YouTube video of me performing this song and sharing some of my story – Vive La Joye Music Video. What trial (small, medium or large) is stealing your joy? It was at least 98 degrees on my first day of sixth grade as a new Florida panhandle resident. The 100% humidity added bonus heat and sweat. Within the first hour of arriving at my new school something was amiss. I realized that I was the only student in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades who was wearing short pants! “You can’t wear shorts!” was yelled at me from finger-pointing students. Even teachers looked at me funny and shook their heads. The icing on the cake was being sent to the principal’s office. We had to call and ask my mom to bring me some long pants. She wasn’t home to answer the phone. I think she was at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. It was a long day filled with embarrassment, ridicule, patience and endurance. Eventually I was able to forgive my parents for overlooking the fine print in the school handbook. It took a little longer for me to restore my self-esteem in public.
With each middle school “trial” during those years, pleasing people (what others thought of me) was subtly becoming overly important since that first day of 6th grade. Then came the big 8th grade spelling bee. I had always made good grades, so the pressure was on and I was a favorite to win the competition. Silence filled the room full of teachers and students after my first word was called out – “Execute.” With butterflies in my stomach, I nervously spelled E – X – I – C – U – T – E. “I’m sorry. That is incorrect,” was the gut wrenching response from my favorite English teacher. It was another “short pants” fiasco. Pleasing others, trying to be perfect, grew to become an idol for me in life. One day at a time God is doing a work to free me from this by His grace. Life’s trials come in different sizes, from short pants to relationship struggles to facing cancer to losing a loved one. God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and He promises to be with me (Psalm 23). Putting my trust and hope in Him helps me count life’s blessings and even find some joy. What step can you take toward joy in the midst of “short pant” moments or a bigger trials? “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” — Psalm 16:11