On Monday mornings around here, we are chatting about joy. Grab a cup of coffee and join in the conversation!
Katy is another friend from D.C. and a fellow blogger as well. Katy’s blogging at Dave and Katy is so refreshing – I love reading her posts about hospitality, decorating, and goal-setting. Randomly, Katy and I also both lived in Jackson, Mississippi for a few years long before we met (she lived in a little house that sits right across from my freshman year dorm!) and we have several mutual friends and acquaintances. Katy is alway full of enthusiasm and wise insight and I was thrilled that she was willing to participate in this project.
1. Are you naturally a joyful person?
I wouldn’t describe myself as naturally joyful. I view joy as more than happiness or bliss – it is having a steady contentment and trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness even in the worst of situations. I am sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy – but finding joy in all circumstances is far more difficult – and far more unnatural because it means I have to give up control! Joy is often a choice and I have failed at living joyfully just as many times as I have succeeded. However, the longer I live, the more I have seen the Lord’s goodness in my life and the more joyful (and trusting) I become.
In a smaller sense, I think I am fairly good at finding daily joys. I am always going to have bad days, but even the worst days can be made a little bit brighter by a good book, good conversation, yummy meal or glass of wine.
2. What brings you the most joy?
I feel joy when I am in close communion with the Lord and am trusting His plan over mine. Particularly, I find joy in remembering His faithfulness in times past or watching Him answer prayers.
Additionally, I am a people person, and I love quality time with others. But as much as I love people, I also find joy in having a little time each week to myself. Choosing joy is easier when I have not over-committed myself and feel well rested.
3. What is something “little” that regularly brings you joy?
Little things that bring me daily joy include good conversations, a glass of chardonnay, quality time with my husband, time spent outdoors, girls nights, Christmas lights and a seat on the metro (boring but true).
4. What is currently your greatest obstacle to joy?
I have 3 main obstacles:
- Lack of Trust and Anxiety. My main obstacle to joy is worrying – joy means being content even when I don’t know the plan or like the circumstances which means giving up control – and we all like feeling in control (or at least I do!)
- Having a misconceived perception of what joy is. I used to think that being joyful meant I was happy, so I would feel like a failure for not always feeling happy in hard times. But learning to choose joy and contentment during all circumstances has been freeing . . . I can feel upset or disappointed but still choose to be content and joyful!
- Doing too much! Is it just me?? Or do we all grow weary when we over-commit?
5. How are you pursuing joy right now?
- Remembering the Lord’s past faithfulness. One of my obstacles to joy is not trusting that the Lord has my best interest at heart, so when I am struggling with joy, trust or hope, I remind myself of the many times He has been faithful. This keeps me joyful . . . and hopeful!
- Gratefulness. Focusing on my many blessings keeps me joyful by reminding me what God has given me instead of focusing on areas of my life that may feel lacking. Also, when focusing on blessings that I have and others don’t have, gratefulness motivates me to think of others instead of myself — and focusing outward generally promotes joy over self pity.
- Turning worries into prayers. Another obstacle to joy for me is anxiety, so when I start to worry, I try to stop my mind from spouting off a list of worries and instead turn those worries into prayers.
- Going to bed early when needed! (Or remembering that I get a new day tomorrow!) A few years ago, I really honed in on Lamentations 3:22-23 that reminds us that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning, so when life throws a stressful or hard day my way and I am struggling to remain joyful, I remind myself to survive the day and get to bed as soon as I can so I can wake up and receive my new mercies!
- Finding little daily joys. You can’t control everything about life, but you can choose to do something every day that brings you a little happiness — read a good book, eat a piece of chocolate, go for a run, order takeout, call a friend, etc! Make sure your days have at least one bright moment!
- Not over-committing! Sounds simple enough, but this one is so hard for me! I am still working on this area! I feel happier and more joyful if my schedule is not too jam-packed.
6. What is the key to a joyful day for you?
Joy is often a choice, but there are ways to make that choice easier. My key to a joyful day is to remain in close relationship with my Savior and others and make sure my body and soul find rest – whether that means time at the gym, time reconnecting with my husband, reading, watching my favorite TV show or an taking an early bed time. Part of finding rest is taking time to enjoy the daily mercies and gifts I’ve received!
P.S. A quick note for my readers: if you haven’t checked out Bob Goff’s Love Does, I would highly recommend it as you pursue a more joy-filled life.
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