Joy. I wonder if any of us can “choose joy” for even just 1 day. I first must give a disclaimer – this post is not about anyone. It is just something I am thinking about. I have many people in my life personally and professionally who are really struggling right now, and this is not about you. I have just been mulling over and chewing on the concept of joy and wanted to express my thoughts a bit.
Here’s joy defined:
In my case I’ve been thinking of the 2nd definition. Bringing joy to someone and truly allowing the source of joy to overflow in one’s heart.
I wonder if we truly could go one whole day choosing joy over judgement, joy over complaining, joy over whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. It’s definitely a mind over matter thing. And it’s the silly things that become joy-robbers in life, at least in my case. Often things that rob our joy are out of our control, like the weather
We immediately start thinking of all the things the weather will cause in our life and in a quick swoosh of a second our joy collapses under the snowflakes. How silly. Maybe a little close to home with this example since so many of us have had some real experiences with some harsh weather this winter, but still, it doesn’t have to rob us of our joy. Interruptions often rob us of our joy. Maybe you’ve just sat down to read a book and have been looking forward to that “me time” for a while and quick as a wink you hear the knock at the door, a friend stopping by to visit because they were in the neighborhood. You muster a fake welcoming face and sit down for a chat. You focus on the frustration of the interruption. But….what if instead you focus on searching for the pockets of joy the circumstance outside of your control may have caused? A snow day to stay home and do whatever it is you’ve been wanting to do for the past several months that you’ve been saying, “if only an unexpected day would plop into my lap, I could….” Or the option to make a snowman with your toddler and have a good old fashioned snow ball fight – hours of play time guilt free! Or with the friend who stopped by, focusing on the gift of relationship instead of your time interrupted can free you up to really enjoy the conversation. Our life is so cluttered with busy and “sometimes fake connection” through social media and the likes that having REAL facetime with a friend is a luxury that rarely happens! What looks like the unexpected dark cloud can often be hiding a real joy gem if you breath, don’t let it overtake you and respond with an expectant attitude of joy.
Another disclaimer – this is not a post written by an expert at this, I struggle just like the next person and need the swift kick in the pants wake up call to joy just as much as you might.
It requires intention, this joy business. It’s a process of clearing your mind of the first instinct – react, complain and give way to frustration – and choosing instead to take a deep breath, look for the gift in the unexpected and celebrate the adventure that you wouldn’t have had if something hadn’t come along an interrupted YOUR life and YOUR plans.
Joy outcomes of the unexpected have been many in my life – a different job, a new friend, a hilarious memory, unexpected time all to myself, a wonderful brand new little life, some really cool moments with God, the list could fill several pages long.
So, this post is a little quirky, but my hope is that you might join me in being persistent in refusing to have your joy stolen from you and begin looking for the joy in the unexpected in your life. Some people call this silver linings. But call it what you will, your heart grows lighter from practicing joy and your heart grows as heavy as lead by constantly giving in to frustration.
Just some stuff my mind was churning on today.