I don't know about the rest of you, but I really struggle with joy. I get so caught up in my ever-lengthening to-do list, work related frustrations, and just wishing for "something better" that I tend to miss so many blessings right in front of me. I have real trouble with envy. I always want a bigger, nicer house on a bigger piece of land, a better job (or a job that I actually enjoy), money to decorate my house with, money to redo my craft room, money for new furniture, clothes...the list goes on and on. Point is, there are always so many things that I want, that I fail to be thankful for the things I have.
I wake up in the morning dreading going to work. Then, I spend an hour driving to work, 8 hours waiting for work to be over, another hour+ driving home, then I spend the rest of the evening either being tired or being frustrated with all the things I need to get done in the measly 3-4 hours I get at home. THEN, I go to bed, anxious to get to sleep so I can do it all over again the next day.
I'm not sure why this is such a struggle for me. I wasn't raised "with money." And I certainly wasn't taught that money or things were important. I suppose it's just part of our culture. Our worth in America is determined by how nice our house, cars, and clothes are, or by how many degrees we have, and how much income is listed on our Tax Returns. While I know this is absolutely wrong and ludicrous, I still fall prey to that mentality.
That being said, I've come up with a new goal for myself. That goal is simple: to find the joy in my journey. I want to be that person who is completely content and happy, no matter what my circumstances. I want to be a woman who is perfectly satisfied, no matter how "simple" my life is. I'm only 27, but I am so incredibly tired of feeling like I need a certain car or house, or that I need to look a certain way in order to fit in. The Bible actually tells us NOT to fit in!
No, I'm not planning to go live in an Amish community with no electricity where I use an outhouse. I just mean that I don't want to live my entire life waiting for something better. I want to WANT what I have. I want to simply be thankful and happy with all of the things that make me smile. I don't want to allow traffic, rude people, the bad-mood-boss, or that lazy coworker to steal my joy! So, it's time for me to take hold of my own happiness and stop letting society tell me what I need to be happy. I'm not really sure what that entails yet, but I know it's a lifelong journey.
I have a perfect example of Joy. I have a little girl in my class on Wednesday nights at church. Lily. Now, if you've ever met Lily, you'll know what I am talking about. If not, it's hard to put her into words. Lily is a very active, happy, excited, and joyful 2-year-old. It doesn't take much to make her happy. She rarely throws a fit. She's just....HAPPY! She's happy to see you. She's happy when she says "I love your hair!" She will tell a random stranger "I like you!" She sees a baby and exclaims "Aw! How sweet! What a cute baby!" She sees a flower and gets really excited about it. She makes a joke and cracks herself up, bursting out in laughter. She's just plain happy.
I'm not sure when we move from that childlike joy to the adult-like stress and disappointment, but I want to be more like Lily. I want to find my joy in Christ, and find happiness in the simple things.
So, what makes you happy? :-)