My 30 day blog challenge presented a bit of a problem today. #JOYOUS is the theme and honestly, joyful, joyous, jolly don’t exactly describe where I’m at presently in life. Marriage is ending, children have left the nest, I’ve been unemployed for 2 months now with not a great deal of luck in the job market. I’ve felt extremely alone the last few weeks despite hanging out with family. It’s a tough season in my life right now.
Here’s the thing though. You have to find joy sometimes. Life goes on whether you want it to or not and it’s our choice to live it joyfully.
I was out on my afternoon walk with Ava when that thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I have to find joy? Yes! And sometimes it’s going to come from the most mundane or unexpected places. I really began to consider what I have to be joyful about. I unclipped Ava’s leash and she leaped, did a full back roll, grabbed a stick and ran around as fast as she could. That my friends is joy. I smiled as I watched her run with complete abandon, saw her tail wag and thump the ground as she begged me to play fetch just one more time. When we finished the game, she touched her cold, wet nose to my fingers and looked at me with her head tilted as if to say “See, it’s all going to be ok, Just live!”
I realized that I feel joy when my kids text or call. I miss them so incredibly much but knowing they love me and are thinking of me brings a smile to my face. My middle daughter, Kendall, sent me a picture that she’d snapped of herself today. That picture made my heart swell ten times! What a blessing my kids are!
You see, sometimes you have to stop and re-examine your thoughts. It’s really easy when you are already feeling down to let your thoughts pull you in even further. Being in a destructive cycle sets a pattern in your brain that cause negative thoughts to often become negative emotions like anger, anxiety, and stress. Sometimes my thoughts are so dark that it feeds my depression. One of my favorite Bible verses of all time is Phillippians 4:8 ” Whatever things are true, Whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” If I think of all the negative things in my life, I will be negative. If I stop, re-examine my thoughts and find good things, lovely things, then yeah the negative things still exist but I can find joy despite them.
Find joy in small things, the cup of coffee you have in the morning and how it brings warmth to your hands, a happy conversation with an old friend. I know some days that’s so hard. There are days when literally the best I can do is repeat to myself over and over “this is just a season of sadness, there will be joy” I have to find it in things like the wind and how it whips my hair when I’m out on the boat, or watching the dolphins as they dance around the bow. I find it in my silliest Kate Winslet “Jack I’m flying moments” as I lean over the bow and dip my hands into the water below. This is life. This is feeling alive and you know what sometimes that includes all those negative things I feel too.
So, get out there and be #joyous