I’ve shared before that I am a cynic and pessimist by nature, with a tendency toward melancholy. What that meant for me for a long time is that joy came only in brief spurts, during the true highs of life that cannot be maintained indefinitely. It’s euphoric to experience that kind of joy, but it lasts only for that moment and the afterward is bittersweet.
In professing and choosing to believe that God is Good All the Time, I’ve had to reexamine a number of things about myself. One of them is my attitude. And while I have a LOT of serious work left to do in a lot of areas there, one piece of myself that I have gotten a bit of a handle on is living joyfully. Even while coughing up the the dust that life sometimes dumps on us.
The first step for me was understanding that true joy doesn’t have to be occasional and felt only during the “big moments of life.” Joy weaves itself around us constantly; we just need to become aware of it. And if you tend to be a half-empty girl, that means you have to become intentional about recognizing it.
Do you love the beach? There is joy in the warmth of the sun, the feel of the sand on bare feet, and the sound of the waves. Do you enjoy a stroll along a wooded path? The glimpse of wildflowers in bloom and sunlight dappling the trail where the sun breaks through the branches of the trees become marvels when you take the time to savor the beauty. Maybe it’s a truly clean kitchen that brings you happiness. If so, recognize that and be thankful when you’ve swept away the last of the crumbs.
The point is to start to see the joy that is in each day. At first, it will catch you by surprise when you recognize it in your child’s dimples, the artwork brought home from school, and the caress of a soft breeze along your cheek. Before you know it, you are slowing down, you are recognizing joy in unexpected places, and you are learning to deeply breathe in every moment of life.
Make joy your newest, best habit. By giving thanks and extending grace, you open your arms to all that Jehovah Jireh (the name of God as our Provider) has for you. When you open your arms, you open yourself to receive all that He has for you. And then the Joy runs deep and rarely fades.