How do you find joy in everyday life? I have a writing club. Instead of the usual Friday Facebook post having them recap their weekly writing accomplishments I asked a simple question:
Here’s a few of the responses.
My new friend, Marné answered from over the ocean and from the country of South Africa. She attributed me as a writing mentor, our Christmas devotional, and her continued writing journey. Her expression joy brought a smile to my face. You can read her blog here: https://raisingmyautisticfarmer.wordpress.com
Marta, Kim, Kathy and Tanya’s joy and smiles all came from God’s creatures. Between turkeys parading across the office window, sleeping pets, dogs who sit on shoulders like a parrot, and a dog who ate the chocolate they smiles and chuckles continued.
Cindy expressed joy over watching grand-children perform her dance on Facetime. Elizabeth was still basking in the joy of her pictures from her vacation with her husband. Marian found joy in having scenes from her upcoming book come to real-life. Solidel turned a fat-bottomed cat who broke her box into a joyful situation. Pamela found joy in the hard work of helping a friend clean out the house of the friend’s mom who passed on. Therese, a writer AND a photographer, had the joy of photographing a friend’s wedding. Debra’s joy came from getting ready for a fun paint party with the ladies from her church.
As I read through the list, it made me mindful of one thing. Decisions. We decide what makes us joyful. I know I rarely start to do something with the mindset “I’m doing this to bring me joy.” Oh, sure, sometimes there’s a fun project I’m itching to create or write. But, for the most part, life goes on. It’s how I reflect at the end of the day when I can purposely think of things that brought me joy — those are life’s treasures.
I love the simple explanation about the difference between joy and happiness from https://www.psychologies.co.uk/joy-vs-happiness
“Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are and how you are, whereas happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts and events.”
As I think about family and friends who’ve suffered with depression, I can now see how expressing daily gratitude and joy helped to heal their spirits and body. When my husband battled depression last year, this was a practice I helped him to instill in his life. He started a notebook to write 3 daily gratitude and joy statements. The Bible says “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” We saw it first hand as one of the tools that helped him to heal.
So, friend, I encourage you to practice daily joy and gratitude. Find something that made you smile today and write it down. This is something I do in every prayer journal. Even if the author doesn’t include it, I write something I’m grateful for. During life’s storms I’ve been known to pull them out and read them. Those joyful memories are healing to my soul.
I also include them in every prayer journal I create. Yes, joy and gratitude are that important to me. If you haven’t started yet, I encourage you to make a daily practice of finding joy and gratitude in your day!