“Unresolved emotional pain and brokenness can make choosing joy on a daily basis challenging” and that we need to take care of ourselves.
Choosing joy is not always easy and sometimes can be most difficult, but it is possible to do so and to choose joy daily.
She gives us some practical things that will help us in our desire to choose joy:
- Look for a Joy Mentor – find someone who is more than just a happy personality, but rather a sister that will find joy in the tears, God in the ordinary and is thankful for the perfect will of God even though it is painful. Release the little girl in you to experience unbridled joy. I love that she calls children “joy factories,” as they truly do just soak up the precious moments surrounding them.
- Avoid Small Potatoes – I often remind people that it’s the little things that make life big. While completely true, it’s also the little things that steal your joy. Traffic, spat with family, flat tires, things not going the way as planned, etc. Joy thieves are waiting in each instance of your day for one purpose…to steal your joy. You get to choose if you hand it over willingly or not. Choose wisely.
- Rediscover Pleasure – I often talk about ordinary joy and the hidden treasures in our day to day life. I tease my boss sometimes by saying “I want it all and I want it wrapped” but truth is, we do want the best of the best and often miss the greatest joys in the most ordinary of things. The feeling of stomping through puddles, the giggles of joy when romping through grass, the cheesy look of the full moon as he lights up the darkest night. When you open your eyes to see the treasures in the ordinary, they quickly become priceless treasures.
- Express Affection Extravagantly – I’m a hugger. When you meet me, you’ll likely get a hug, huge smile and hearty hello. Many people can barely make eye contact, much less express affection in this manner. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone when in public this week and smile bigger, greet others with a warm handshake or if circumstances allow it a warm hug. You’ll be amazed at what it does for YOUR heart.
- See the Humor – I love laughing. Often when I’m laughing, I don’t realize it but I carry a lot of volume, and sometimes my children don’t see the humor in that. Making the best of the worst situations sometimes requires seeing the humor. Sometimes you are the one that can point it out, when no one else even sees it. Recently we had our family vacation. Whirlwind, lots of driving but lots of fun. On the way home we had a plan to just drive straight through (12 hours) and take one day to rest before finishing up our final trip home, another 13 hours. Four hours into the trip our tire blows. We don’t have a special tool we need to change it, so what went from normal 30 minute inconvenience was now an almost 5 hour ordeal. We “picnicked” on the side of the interstate, laughed and had a good time while basking in the morning/afternoon sun. We get another 3 hours under our belt and another tire “sounded funny.” We pull over and sure enough the tread is ripped and the tire needed to be replaced. We immediately find a Wal-Mart Tire Center, take it in while they are changing the 2nd tire, we shop. We are laughing at the craziness of it all when my son hugged me and said “Mom, I’m glad you are my mom, because with anyone else, this would have really been bad.” I reminded him we can’t change the situation so we needed to simply enjoy it and reminded him that we may never know what God protected us from. Find the humor! Kay reminds us that “when you recognize both the pain and the humor around you, you take another step toward knowing true joy.”
- Practice Gratitude – Even if we are never blessed with another “great thing” we can always be grateful for our home in heaven, the amazing grace of God and His never ending mercy. There is always something to be thankful for. Question is, will you see it during the storm that rages? Will you see it in the ordinary? Will you be looking for it? When you are thinking about all the great things that surround you, you will be thankful.
- Live in the Moment – I love those precious moments where joy just bursts into your heart from the most unexpected places! Trouble is, we want to live there all the time. If we were to never experience pain or sorrow, we could never truly experience great joy. Stop looking at the trouble you are enduring and focus on the priceless moments of joy and blessings. If your sorrows are so great, grief so heavy and burdens are so deep, then take time each day to focus on the blessings of heaven, amazing grace and God’s great mercy by way of the gift of the cross. Live in that, even when the storm is raging.
- Find the Blessing in the Mess – Have you ever watched a child play in the rain, mud or even finger paint? Have you just quietly observed their smile and laughter or do you see just the mess they are making? Inside of every mess we get ourselves into, or the ones that seem to sneak up on us, there IS a blessing. I have no clue what it could be, but seek it out! Look for it! If you never find the blessing in the mess, then trust God to work it out for your good.
- Passing the JOY on – Our tag line at Spreading Joy Corporation is “There’s no joy like spreading joy.” There simply isn’t. If you want joy to be at your very core, then “give.” If you want to have joy flooding your heart each day, then “do.” If you want joy to be a way of life, then “serve.” Don’t think about how you’ll be thanked, who will see, how much value your act of joy is worth, just do it.
JOY is a choice!