Joy isn’t just a happy thought. It is a way of life.
In a previous blog, we talked about how to get things out of the way so that joy can come in. Joy kind of becomes a default response when we take action and live as who we say we want to be, clear our consciousness before God, and go ahead and do the thing.
These things set you up in order to allow joy to roll in.
But there is another piece I want to talk to you about today that sometimes is required to cause us to have joy every single day, and live in a state of happiness.
We talk about how joy is deeper than happiness. Happiness is circumstantial (like when you get a present). Joy is much deeper. This is true.
However, I believe that joy also encompasses being happy, genuinely happy. Yet, how do we do that?
Sometimes our circumstances set us off into these patterns, and we kind of get stuck in these patterns of discouragement or worry or anxiety, and joy (or even working towards happiness) feels elusive.
So, how do we get that happiness that comes in?
Let me encourage you that this is a skill.
Isn’t it an encouraging thought that joy is a skill you can cultivate?
Our brains get used to certain patterns of thought.
If we’ve had circumstances that are difficult around certain seasons of life, it is not unusual for our brains to jump right back into that pattern.
We have patterns that we become familiar with, and even if they don’t always serve us – they are what feels comfortable so we remain in them. The beauty of this is that it is possible to change these patterns. The hard part is that you have to change the pattern while it is still feeling uncomfortable before you are able to experience joy happening all on its own.
I want to talk to you about some ways you can break these patterns. It’s going to take choosing at first, but if you are willing to dig in and choose it over and over and over again, as you begin to practice it- it will begin happening more and more naturally.
Recognize the Big Picture
We tend to look at the little picture of what didn’t work out, today.
How am I going to afford everything I need?
How will I get all of this done?
It’s a real problem, but when we look at our situations from God’s perspective (the big picture) it’s an entirely different perspective. In fact, it is so different that our current circumstances don’t have to impact our ability to feel excited and encouraged.
The current story is unimportant.
When we look at it from God’s perspective we realize that it’s all about showing love well. There are different ways that we show love to others. When we look at our lives from His perspective, it’s easy to see that love becomes the priority.
Truth and mercy and grace are the reigning characteristics to focus on. We can rejoice in the things that come along because we know that he is on the thrown and in control. That brings joy.
Regularly Consider the Things that are Pure, Holy, Just, Virtuous & Worthy of Praise
Not just thinking about them. Take a minute to feel them, deep inside your bones. In spite of fears, and unknown, and people being unkind- there are places we can see God at work, where we can see his pureness, where we can see things that are lovely.
Notice the effort that your children go through to do the things you ask them to do – even if they don’t do it quite right.
Notice as they stay in a difficult conversation- even if they are struggling with disobedience.
This is worthy of praise- this is a great example of a way that we can be joyous about the strides they are making in their own emotional battles.
Thinking about what is pure, holy, just, virtuous, and worthy of praise takes practice, but as we do we start to notice other things in our lives that are this way as well.
Really Celebrate By Using Your Body Language
Nobody thinks anything is off when people are jumping around, waving their arms, and yelling “whoo hoo!” at a sports event, or when a football team wins the Superbowl.
But don’t you feel awkward when you are thinking about something of God, or a way he has provided for you- we don’t jump up and down or celebrate that.
And yet, why not? We are hampering our joy- we are hindering it. We are not allowing it to be fully present in our daily life. There are so many things we can celebrate other than a good sport’s event.
Maybe when you are taking a walk or listening to good music, it’s okay to stretch your arm’s out and twirl around.
When you see bright sunshine, beautiful snow, or falling leaves-it’s okay to skip and smile and feel the beauty of the world around you that God has made.
When you see your children completing something that you didn’t have to plead for them to do– it’s okay to celebrate like they just won the world series.
Ask yourself- why not?
It’s okay if it feels funny, or it feels awkward.
It’s okay if your kid’s look at you like you are crazy.
You are teaching them that it is perfectly normal to celebrate the everyday things in life. As we practice celebrating everyday things, we will notice that it becomes easier and easier.
Smile. Open your arms. Sing at the top of your lungs.
My encouragement to you today is to choose one or two ways to practice celebrating on a regular basis. I am here to tell you it is possible, all it takes is building a new habit, and it will become familiar just like eating three meals a day does..
What one next thing are you going to do to take action on this concept of practicing joy? Comment below!
If you want more practice on cultivating joy in your life, book a call with me, and let’s talk about which of my coaching options is right for you – you can find more information about them here at Mary Aldrich Coaching.