We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy
Hands up if you ever felt like you were just trying to keep your head above water? Or if you’ve looked at the clock only to realize that it’s 4pm and you haven’t had lunch? Maybe you're just feeling like you’re on the groundhog day wheel of life and everyday is starting to run into the next?
Whatever the case might be, I think we can all agree that 2020 has sent us all on some sort of rollercoaster of emotions a time or two, or three! Yeah? So the big question is, how do we find joy within the chaos? When circumstances arise, when uncertainty mounts up, when the storms are raging?
I’d like to tell you that there’s a sure-fire-secret-sauce-never-fail-recipe, wouldn’t that be nice? Instead, I think it’s about being intentional and implementing some steps that may seem small to the naked eye, but mount up to great results.
These are my go-tos, those tried and true few things that are certain to help spark joy when it feels lost.
Let’s jump in!
01. A daily practice of gratitude
When you look for the good, the good gets better.
I truly believe that when you spend your time looking for the blessings in your life, you’ll find them. It works every single time, within every single day and in the midst of a boat full of unfortunate circumstances. Sister, I’ve been crying at the same time as praising God for his goodness, because of this very, intentional, habit. There’s always, always something to be grateful for. By making a daily practice of writing down a handful of those things it causes me to really think about the good, it causes me to walk through my days with my eyes open to the goodness around me, from the littlest (often unnoticed) moments, to the obvious ones. Recalling gratitude also helps to shift mindsets and changes perspective, it limits your ability to compare and acts as a security against your joy getting robbed. Start with writing down three to five things. Maybe it’s an uninterrupted hot cup of coffee, a brisk walk, a catch up with a friend, an empty laundry bin perhaps? Some days it might be the simple acknowledgement that you’re still alive and well. Whatever it is, I promise you, this works.
02. Filling up my cup
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Hear me well: you need to call a timeout every now and again, friend. You need moments of rest. Selfcare and a moment for yourself is not selfish, it’s essential. You need to take a hot second to fill up that cup of yours. Make a list of the things that you know bring you joy and fill you up, then start carving out some time to strike them off. The best of you only spills out when your cup is full. That may look different for each and everyone of you. To some it may mean taking some to sit and read an actual book. To others it might be a case of saying strategic “nos” in order to make space for some ‘you time’. Maybe it’s just grabbing a coffee + dreaming and talking life with a girlfriend. Whatever the case, we all need some space for ourselves, even if it’s only thirty minutes. Without it we will be no good for no one. Giving to my kids, my husband, family, friends, community, church – should come from the overflow of my cup, not an empty one. What’s on your joy list?
03. Choose it.
Yep, you’ve read that right. Choose it. It may seem unnatural and counterintuitive at first, but the more you start choosing joy beyond your circumstances, the more you’ll feel it and find it. We’re programmed to naturally resort to the things that don’t make us feel great, but by being intentional and seeking joy, we’re training our brain to resort to that automatically instead of it being a forced afterthought. You may not feel happy or life may seem downright unfair at the minute, but you still have the power to choose joy. Joy is different to happiness, joy is a deep sense of hope, happiness is based on emotions that any given moment brings. Joy is an inward peace, happiness is an outward reflection. Joy is lasting, happiness is temporary. Joy gives us the power to go again. Turn on that feel good tune, head for a run to shake off the cobwebs, whatever you do, look yourself in the mirror and speak out a little joy pep-talk.
Whenever life feels like it’s spinning out of control, remember there are still some things you can control. Your thoughts, your response, your actions are all things that you have the power to take hold of. For me this also means turning to my faith, knowing that whatever is outside of my control there is one who is in control. The one who promises to turn everything to good and who has a plan and purpose for my life. Focus your time on nurturing those things you can control and start igniting that joy again, the rest will work itself out if you give it time.
My encouragement to you today in all of this is to be grateful more, fill up that cup of yours, and keep reminding yourself of everything that you’re capable of. Before you know it, you’ll be able to start pouring back into those you love around you.
Here for you, friend!
If you’re a mama, or know of a mama, who could use a little extra pep talk...
Grab our Motherhood Affirmation pack, it’s full of encouragement and reminders, plus it includes space on the back for recalling gratitude and journaling. All of our affirmation sets also come in a faith-based version, paired with scripture, to help connect your inner dialogue with God and his power over your life.