How many of us have found real joy in ourselves?
The kind of joy that beckons you to run like a child through a field of wild flowers…….
The “raise your hands in the air going downhill on the roller coaster” kind of joy….
The joy that comes from hearing your favorite song on the radio….windows down, song blasting, “beating on the steering wheel”kinda joy….
I had a taste of heavenly joy this Sunday when I attended a praise and worship session at my church. Drums beating, screaming these songs that I had often heard on KLove, not a care in the world but lovin’ Jesus.
Now….what if someone told you that this was how they felt when they saw you.
(What???!!! little ole me.????…)
Yes!!! What if someone told you that your very existence was a joy in their life.
That your smile could brighten any rough day that they were having.
That your hug was the medicine for that tough patch of grief that they were feeling.
Would you act differently? Would you view yourself differently?
I think you would.
And….I challenge you to surround yourself with people who feel this way about you.
I believe that God wants us all to have this freedom.
The freedom of living “carelessly” regardless of the ways others view us.
I’m not talking about the “I don’t give a $#@! what you think of me, and I’m done with haters” not care…but the genuine, “I love who I am” kind of joy.
How rich would our lives be if we didn’t feel like we had to live under the microscope of facebook, instagram, etc…constantly awaiting the comments of judgement, looking for others approval, or broken by the harsh comments……
Notice that I didn’t say the photo album of facebook…..where you display your life for others to find joy in….
Comparison is the thief of joy…..Theodore Roosevelt
How can we find this joy? I believe it comes down to three principles that we must fully accept and implement in our lives.
We must accept who we are…..the good, the bad, and the ugly. We must not seek perfection….but contentment in who we are.
What if we denied the “haters” the ability to “get to us”?
I have owned who I am……I am done comparing…
I can’t tell you how often I have thought…….
I will never keep a house like………
I will never have slim thighs like…..
I wish I could love to eat healthy like…..
I wish I wasn’t such a terrible procrastinator
I wish I was more diligent in my work.
Now….if you are looking to change a part of your life that you feel could use some “fine tuning”, then go for it! Do it for you…because you want to be the best you. Not because someone else has determined what the best “you” looks like.
Find the joy in your present state of life…whatever that may be.
We must not compare our “new” life to our “old life” in a negative way……
Often times when I am overwhelmed, I think back to how much “simplier” life was when “all had to do was change diapers, or be responsible for feeding my kids”and that’s not a fair assessment. Those were challenging times too.
I remember when I was struggling with getting pregnant for the first three years of my marriage, I dreaded taking a pregnancy test each month and how sad the hubs and I were at this point in our life. If only I could have acknowledged my sadness, and then chose to live the place in life that God had me in. I often long for those carefree days that could have taken us traveling and spending time together as a couple.
My life now has it’s own struggles and it’s own joys.
God has you where you are…..now. Find your joy in this moment.
Find your joy:
- In your new house that needs to be furnished or in your old house, that needs to be updated.
- at your new job as you learn how to perform your tasks or at your old job that has given you stability.
- in the storm that God is carrying you through, or in the serenity of the lake that you rest on.
And lastly, surround yourself with support. People who genuinely love you for who you are.
I can’t stress how important this is. I happen to be blessed with amazing family who are all my best friends.
I never feel lonely. I never have to worry about conquering something on my own.
When times get tough, and there always will be “storms” that arise, these are the people who will see you through it.
I have amazing women who are part of my homeschooling community. Their children are such a blessing to the lives of my children. They make all these “crazy” homeschooling hurdles fun, while inspiring me with their lives.
I have an amazing network of friends from my days at Franciscan University. Ladies that I call monthly to “check in” and share my life with. They are a power house of prayer for me and I love sifting through so many of my great memories with these ladies.
I also have some amazing guy friends who help me to be a better wife. From my brother in laws, to friends from Franciscan, to my priests, these men remind me how to love my husband and truly live my life for my family.
Appreciate these people. Call them. Text them. Tell them how much they mean to you.
Don’t wait until something drastic happens to share your heart with these people.
They are your “life line”.
St. Paul tells us to “always be able to give a reason for your joy”…..for our joy is in Christ Jesus.
May you embrace these simple three principles, as you seek the new found freedom of joy that the Lord desires for you.