What is joyful living….really?
First – let's start with the definition of joy.
According to Merriam-Webster: Joy – the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. A feeling of great pleasure or happiness.
According to the Bible joy has a fuller more spiritualmeaning. It involves more. It is a deep-rooted, inspiredhappiness.‘Thejoyof the Lord is your strength.' Nehemiah 8:10.
Grabbing onto what Merriam-Webster has to say….what happens when you aren't well? What happens if you don't acquire your idea of good fortune? What if you never get to possess what you desire? Does that mean you can never experience joy? That you are doomed to a life of un-joyfulness…or bitterness?
And how about the feeling of ‘great pleasure or happiness.' What does that exactly mean? When was the last time you felt great pleasure or happiness? And, if you can think of something, how long did it last?
Looking at main stream joy…
Society tells you, in so many different ways, that in order to be happy you need to BE a certain way. You need to think a certain way.
- You need to be thin, with perfect eyebrows, wearing today's fashion, lipstick AND killer high heels.
- You must, not only own the house, it needs to look like it stepped directly out of a decorator's dream magazine. Everything perfect and nothing out of place. It must always look like no one lives there.
- The car you drive must be new with the latest technology.
- Your kids are model children who never have a temper tantrum, spill food, or misbehave.
- Your girlfriends are your best confidants, you never have arguments or petty fights.
- Your husband loves you above all else. He is handsome, makes a good living and treats you like a princess.
A few products that might help remind you to choose joy –
You get bombarded with ads. Your friends have it…so you want it too. Am I right?
So, what happens when things don't go the way you expect? Someone gets sick? Your car breaks down? You have a fight with your husband? Then what?
I wrote in my ‘Daily Gratitude Journal‘ post:
‘Let's face it. Life is hard. It can be so filled with disappointments and heart aches. The struggle is real. Relationships can fail us. Your money can run out. Your kids could be acting out. Maybe you gained the Covid 15-20 or 50. Your car needs new tires. The lawn mower broke. You ran out of milk.'
Whatever they are…big or small…all of those disappointments and failures can have a tendency to be the main focus of our minds. If you aren't careful that is ALL you will think about.
Joyful Living: How to Live Your Life With Joy
Joyful Living is a mindset. It is an attitude. It is not a sum total of all the choices that you make. It is a sum total of your reaction to all of the choices that you make or that others make. You can choose to rise above those choices and their consequences and live a life of joy….everyday, or you can choose to dwell on those choices and their consequences and live a life of misery and disappointment. How would you rather live?
You CHOOSE to not let your mind live in your circumstances. You CHOOSE to rise above what is happening around you. You CHOOSE to let go of the pettiness, unforgiveness, bitterness and anger. You CHOOSE joy.
You CHOOSE Joyful Living.
Joyful Living is an art. And, as with all art, it requires vision…which requires thought and planning. The end result might not be totally complete…but the steps that need to be taken are a sure thing.
Joyful living does not come naturally. Our natural self wants to look at, and hang onto, all of the hurts, injustices, thoughtless words and actions. All the ways others have failed us. All the ways we have failed ourselves.
But, when you choose to live a life of ‘Joyful Living', you have the ability to turn your back on ALL of those things that tend to turn you into someone who is unhappy. Someone who is not joyful. Someone who is allowing their lives to pass them by and is busy seeking something that can't be found.
Joyful Living is found in ALL things –
Everything about your life will either contribute or take away your joy. All of those things include:
– Your finances. Your budget or lack of budget. Your ability to pay your bills.
– Your relationship with your spouse. Do you disagree about most things – raising kids, large purchases, budgeting, partying, or infidelity.
– Your ability to cook and provide a basic meal for your family.
– Your ability to trust and find loyalty. Who do you turn to for the truth. How do you know it's the truth?
– Your calendar. Is it full? Are there any empty spaces? Do you have time for yourself?
– Your organization. Does clutter make you crazy? Do you want to just kick the toys that are on the floor, throw the laundry in the trash, buy take out meals for the rest of your life?
All of the above things are within your control.
YOU have the ability to assess and make changes. When changes are made you can then eliminate those stressers from your life which leaves you more open to joyful living.
5 things Joyful Living is not:
1). NOT – Sweeping everything under the rug and pretending it does not exist or never happened. Amnesia is not the solution.
What is it?: Joyful Living is looking at everything that has happened head on, embracing it as reality, and choosing to rise above…so that you can live a life of joy.
2). NOT – Being perfect. No one is perfect.
What is it?: Joyful Living is giving yourself grace. It is baby steps. One hour, day, week and then month at a time.
3). NOT – About focusing on the negatives. It is not about focusing on what you don't have or wish was different.
What is it? Joyful Living is focusing on thankfulness and gratitude. It is looking at a glass half full rather than half empty. It is looking at what you do have and making sure you have a plan in place to keep it.
4). NOT – Adding more to your to-do list. It is not about making things busier or more overwhelming.
What is it? Joyful Living is an opportunity for you to let go of all the things that bog you down. It is an opportunity for you to let go of all the little things. It is also an opportunity for you to take a deep breath, let go, and let God.
5). NOT – Reacting in a knee-jerk non-thoughtful way.
What is it? Learning how to respond in a skillful manner. Learning how to take a deep breath and NOT respond….even though everything in you is screaming to retaliate. As Kenny Rogers sings: ‘Learn when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Learn when to walk away….and when to run.'
BTW – You can grab this '10 Ways to Live a More Joyful Life….everyday'. It is located in the ‘Joyful Living Toolbox.' SO many great resources in the toolbox. Check it out right HERE!
A few extra posts about Joyful Living for you to read:
- 5 Simple Steps to Choosing Joy
- Finding Joy in All Things
- What Does God Say About Joy?
- Difference Between Happiness and Joy
PIN FOR LATER: JOYFUL LIVING