Joy is the serious business of heaven. -C. S. Lewis.
Are you approaching the New Year with a limp in your spirit and sorrow shadowed joy? Me too.
JOY is my word for the year. Silly me, I expected hoped this year to be JOYFUL. But sorrow shadowed joy.
Most years, I share my chosen word with friends and discuss it throughout the year. But the unrelenting hardship of 2021 tried to overshadow my joy. Instead of a year of glee, confetti, and gold polka-dots. All items remind me of a reason to celebrate.
The tears of sorrow we shed now sweeten the future moments of joy.
James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt” (James 1:2-6, NIV).
Oh, how easy is it to gloss over the phrases “testing of your faith” when our teenagers are testing our patience. How quick we are to quit praying and asking God’s help when we should “let perseverance finish its work.”
I know I am not alone in this place of pain and sorrow. Let’s clink our mugs together as we recognize we are not alone.
5 Ways to Find Joy Every Day:
Start each day in the positive. We live in a culture that never has enough-we are constantly in the negative. But what if we changed our routine to allow ourselves enough sleep, wake up earlier than necessary to center our mind, and savor an extra cup of liquid mercy (aka coffee)? We can do this at home or in the car before heading into the office.
Surround yourself with reasons to smile. Throughout your home and office, incorporate your favorite things, photograph, a poster of a future destination location, favorite coffee mug, candle, etc.
Surround yourself with positive people. Who we spend time with directly affects our frame of mind. Take inventory of those around you. Do these speak life and encouragement to you or bring you down? Make changes to surround yourself with positive people.
Appreciate the small things. Rather than allowing small things to go unnoticed, what if we made it a habit to celebrate the small things in life? This is a habit I practice each morning during my coffee time and devotions. I note the little things I’m thankful for (text from a friend at the right time or an invitation to walk with my neighbor).
Rediscover abandoned hobbies or learn something new. Each of us has a creative side. Some people knit or sew, while others play an instrument or paint. Perhaps your creative outlet is baking or engine repair. Either way, by getting in touch with your creative side, you’ll discover untapped joy.
Facing trials and suffering is serious business! Scripture reminds us to consider it pure joy because our faith will produce perseverance, maturity, and wisdom. I’m not sugar-coating circumstances, it’s hard. But on those days when choosing to see the joy amidst the pain seems impossible, dig in and find joy.
No matter what you’re facing, you are not alone.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)
More articles about Joy:
Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart
The hit that knocks you down is the one you didn’t see coming, but you don’t have to stay there.
Destination Hope helps women regain their faith and their footing after being knocked off course by unexpected events.
Link arms with us as we journey together toward Hope. Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Target, and Walmart. com.
© 2021 April Dawn White