Finding Joy in all things. ALL things? I can hear you yelling at me over the internet – ‘What?! How can that even be? What if something is boring, or that I hate doing, or someone gets sick, or I clean toilets for a living, or I can't pay the rent?' You expect me to be joyful!?
Now, I totally get where you are coming from. Totally. I've been there a million times (well, maybe not a million…)
First. as a reminder (or just in case you don't know):
Happiness is based on our circumstances. Things going good…happy. Things not so good…not happy.
Joy, on the other hand, is what is inside of you. It is a by-product of what you think which in turn dictates how you behave and react. It is finding joy in all the things. You might want to read ‘Happiness vs Joy‘.
Have you ever met someone that, no matter what life throws at them, they are joyful? I used to think that they were just happy people until I realized that were definitely NOT happy with what was going on. They would have changed what was going on if they could. The difference was this: They chose to NOT let those circumstances dictate to them how they were going to think, talk, act, or behave. They also chose to trust that God knew more than they did…their trust was in Him not their circumstances.
I read an article not too long ago about a man who was a janitor in an institution that was not the cleanest. He had to clean up a lot of different body fluids and other nasty things every day. And, every day he went to work with a spring in his step and a song in his heart. In fact, the reason that the article was written was because someone noticed that he never complained AND he sang while he worked. He loved his job. And they just couldn't figure out why.
Did this man love it because it was great, fun, had a corner office with windows, everyone respected him, had a commanding presence, was an innovator, made a lot of money, lived in a nice house….NO. He loved his job because it was HIS job. The one that he was given. He chose to approach that job with joy….everyday. He definitely found joy in all things.
Let me ask you (speaking to me too)…would you be able to do that? And, if no, why not do you think?
We have one short life to live..and the older you get the shorter it seems. Wouldn't you rather live that one life with a song in your heart, a skip in your step, loaded with joy? I know I would for sure. Because why would I want to live any other way?
Here are a few practical tips that might help you find joy in the mundane, boring and frustrating. To find joy in all things.
When you can find joy in the little things. The mundane things..like a hot cup of coffee (instead of a cold cup). It is so much easier to look for AND FIND the bigger things. A soft touch. A kind word. A smile. ALL of those little things tend to get lost in our quest for ‘bigness'.
I am definitely NOT trying to be overly simplistic here. But, it really is simple. When you realize that joy is a choice and totally within YOUR control…why would you not want to rise above and be the boss of YOU? To rise above those disappointments and choose joy…everyday.
You have been planning an extended family vacation for about 6 months. As difficult as it was, you were able to coordinate everyone's schedules, book flights, and pay the deposits. Conversations were flying, menus planned, and grocery lists made. And then Hurricane Sally comes through and dumps 12″ of water, the beach is closed and to top it all off your place to stay is flooded. Vacation cancelled. Just like that.
Are you sad? You bet. Are you disappointed? You bet. Sadness and disappointment are normal healthy emotions.
What you do NOT want to happen is to get mad. Kick the chair. Call the airlines and demand a refund. Vent to your family members (because they are sad and disappointed too, right?) Because, unfortunately what happens next is not so great. You become someone that you would personally NOT like to be around. You have succumbed to all the stuff that is not good for you and the others around you.
So, as hard as it is, grab your notebook and write down what you are thankful for. Remember that you have family members that wanted to go on vacation with you. Remember that you now have money saved so you can plan another vacation. And yes, it might not be the same, but it's still time together.
Rise above those circumstances and choose joy. What do you think that choosing joy everyday might be worth to you?
We had a family vacation scheduled for a week. We were going to a vacation in Jamaica. And then Covid hit. So, as disappointed as we were, we rallied and moved the location to the beach because we could drive there.
And guess what happened? Hurricane Sally hit. Yup. As were driving we hit torrential rain and the closer we got to the beach the worse it was. Fortunately our rental house was not flooded (it did have a leak). The weather was cold, there were hurricane force winds and nothing was open. Shops. Restaurants. Nothing. We CHOSE to have fun. We went on bike rides (try riding your bike against 40mph winds) and got soaked. We ate what we had. Played games and waited for the sun to come out. My husband was the only one who swam in the cold pool. (Cause the crazy man likes cold water.)
I am only telling you this because we made the best of the circumstances that were given to us. We rose above and we chose joy. And believe, if we can do it, you can too! And, as a result, it was a great family vacation with some wonderful memories.
Tools to help you live a joyful and more fulfilled life