Where do you experience Flow (Joy)?

This Sunday I’m preaching on the connection between the biblical concept of ‘joy’ and the psychological concept of ‘flow’. I need some help. When does time stop for you? When do you find yourself doing exactly what you want to be doing, and never wanting it to end? Is it painting, or making love, or playing volleyball, or talking before a group, or rock climbing, or listening sympathetically to someone else’s troubles? (These questions come from Dr. Martin Seligman, Postive Psychologist) If you have an answer to any of these questions, post away!

10 thoughts on “Where do you experience Flow (Joy)?

  1. shelley

    used to be at church in the prayer room or slain on the floor. i never wanted to get up from that place!! now its when im riding on the back of our motorcycle high up in the mountains leaving the reality of life behind. listening to my favorite Kid Rock songs over and over again;like, ‘SHE WORE BLUE JEANS AND A ROSERY” or”AMEN” or, most of all”,BORN FREE and ONLY GOD KNOWS WHY” in fact, ONLY GOD KNOWS WHY is tattooed right underneath CREED, on my right arm. music is God created and speaks volumes to me whether quote un quote, christian, country or good ole, rock-n-roll.the band Creed held my heart for a long time, now its Kid Rock.these things bring me happiness but honestly real JOY for me was when i felt the presence of the Holy Spirit on me and in my life.dont know if i can find my way back there anymore. seems ive settled for temporary happiness instead of JOY.

  2. Linda

    Reading Solo, looking out at my back yard, or at the river valley in the front, watching kids in worship, becoming acutely aware of God in the quietness of his creation, reading my kids’ report cards, remembering “moments” of God speaking directly into my life, travelling, challenging students to think bigger, sharing a beer with friends, coming up with ideas to serve, dreaming about running an “off the grid” organic farm close by the city that students could come to to learn about sustainable living, reading the Narnia series, reflecting on the intense beauty and love of God…These are a few.

  3. Anonymous

    I thought of quite a few!

    When I’m writing a story and the characters seem to come alive – when I am able to put the “me” aside and just listen to the story and let it be, to let it lead. I am able to create something that astounds even me when I do this.

    When I’m lost in the love of my husband – no matter what we’re doing – it is impossible to care or even notice what time it is. From going for a walk together to sharing in the wonderful joy of making love in which it is impossible not to feel surrounded by beauty.

    When I’m playing music/singing a song – most especially with others. The song takes on a life of it’s own and almost becomes a separate entity. It is a bond that connects me to my other musicians in a very intimate way as we all get lost in it. Playing a song together, to me, brings us closer than anything else.

    When I get away alone – anywhere. I can become lost in the simplest of sights or sensations if my mind is willing to relax.

    Talking to a friend! I have a few friends that don’t live in the city and when they call I can be on the phone with them for HOURS and i don’t realize it until I hang up!

    Reading a good book. I can read all night if the story pulls me in. I don’t realize the time passing – and I never want the book to end!

    I constantly get lost – stop dead lost – in beautiful music.

    A great movie. Wow. I just watched Forest Gump again and felt that those two and a half hours were like nothing to me. I was moved.

    When I have had a friend who has needed me to be there fully. I’ve held a sobbing friend in her dark room for hours and not noticed nor cared about the time. I’ve sat up all night with another friend to make sure someone didn’t die on us while we slept. I’ve cleaned wounds and stopped the shaking. These moments take my all – and I give of it gladly.

    Thinking about concepts – I just spent about twenty minutes on this and didn’t realize it.

  4. Adrian VW

    hmmmmm. this is a puzzler. For me I would say that flow happens for me when I’m lost in deep thought. Generally over thinking scientific concepts, and contemplating the overabundant opportunities for learning about the universe.

    As well, being secluded from the “world” as in other people. Being in Calgary it’s difficult to be far from civilization, but back where I grew up on Vancouver Island, I could pick a spot off the highway, climb a mountain for a couple hours and spend, well God only knows how many hours at a time looking over the valley just thinking about the future, what heaven would be like, what the world would be like without hate/war, the list goes on. It was always these times when I was able to clear my head of life’s stress and connect with myself, with God, with nature.

    Thanks for this topic John. It’s made me realize that I really don’t get the opportunity for that flow at all anymore really. I think I’ll find some time for that.

  5. Meg

    I experience flow when I’m planning. I’m a teacher, and one of my favourite things about my job is envisioning a lesson, a unit, or a semester. I can literally lose myself in front of the computer for an entire work day and then wonder where the time went. And I love the feeling at the end of it, because I’ve solved several “problems” (usually timeline and content related), I’ve been able to use my creative energy to infuse “new life” into my teaching, and I’ve accomplished something that will help guide my work for the next day, week, or month. There’s definitely a sense of joy in this for me.

  6. Zaakistan

    Time stands still when I’m editing video – sorting through hours of footage making a story or a montage come out of nothing. There is a sense of accomplishment and purpose to the whole thing. I am at one with the process and it defines who I am for the time I am engaged with it. Hunger, thirst, and other biological functions fade away. I enter eternity – or maybe it takes an eternity to complete a project.

  7. darlene

    when does time stand still for me?

    it’s the times when my kids are sick, or sad, or lonely, and they melt into my arms to find comfort and encouragement and love, and in those moments i get a glimpse of the love that god has for us, and the anticipation of heaven and resting in the arms of my saviour.

    and it’s the times on a friday night when the kids are in bed and the neighbors come over for a night cap, and we can share our lives, good and bad, when we can relax and enjoy the company (and sometimes order a giovanni’s pizza).

    it’s also in the sharing of a conversation with a really good friend, whom i’ve grown so close to, yet i know won’t be around forever.

    and sometimes it’s when i’m on facebook, and the hours just melt away and then i realize it’s after midnight and i’m going to be tired and cranky the next morning.

  8. Kailey

    I personally see a direct correlation of “flow” with the act of love. I notice flow happens when I’m caught up in loving or being loved. Whether its in the thrill of talking to someone new, a quiet date with my husband, making someone smile, expressing myself through written word or paint, or just doing something that electrifies me…love is the common denominator. God gives us all the capacity to love and endows his love by giving us skills and abilities to physically show that love…I’m pretty sure that’s what I’d call flow.

  9. Bill

    I would say “flow” happens for me differently. It doesn’t have to be things I “enjoy”, or “never want to end”, but more when my brain is fully engaged. Doing paperwork (trying to find a missing entry), fixing the car (mechanic work), putting together a proposal, or writing down the plan for my next “great” business idea. When these times occur I come away from them feeling accomplishment and fullfillment, which for me is a form of joy.

  10. Amber

    I’ve been mulling this question around and my conclusion is that for me it’s lots of seemingly little things. Snuggling up with one of my kids on the rare occasion that they’ll sit still, when supper’s over and the kitchen is cleaned up and we can relax and just “be” as a family, having a deep conversation and really connecting with someone, losing myself in a great book in the tub after the house has quieted down for the night, talking with women about their birthing experiences and dreaming of becoming a midwife, having my breathe taken away by a fiery sunrise, all of these and more are when and where I experience joy. Thanks for getting me thinking about them John 😉

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