Finding Joy Instead of Happiness - Part 2
Before I begin talking about my journey of finding joy, I want to say two things. I am overwhelmed by how many of you LOVED Part 1, and not only did most of you love it, I had so many people reach out and say that it was what they NEEDED. You guys, that's exactly why I blog and it shows me that spending hours every week creating content for my blog is SO WORTH IT!
Secondly, I need to be completely transparent with you. I've been dragging my feet on creating this post for a while now for selfish reasons. I've been going through a lot of things personally and professionally and it's beginning to take a physical toll on me. I can't sit here and fake that finding joy in my life is an easy thing to do when I have such a heavy heart right now. Some weeks are more difficult than others and I get that but I'm just in a weird emotional state right now. I know that I will get through it, but it doesn't mean that it will be easy.
Now that I've been rather frank with you guys, let's cheer up and get to the good stuff, shall we?!
This daily devotional has so much conviction behind it with every page that I read. What I've learned from this journey is that finding joy is a work in progress. It won't happen overnight and it's doing little things every day that will ultimately lead you to living a joyful life. It's having a good sense of your surroundings and choosing to not let outside forces get the best of you. (LOL, that's ironic for the current season I'm at in my life.)
I'll only be talking about the first three steps today as I really want to break down each step so there is no confusion on what any of it means.
Step 1 - Don't allow other's criticism of you to obstruct your sense of well-being
This is about acknowledging that people will always have an opinion about what you say, do, or how you present yourself, but at the end of the day, it truly doesn't matter what others think. If you KNOW that you are being the best version of yourself FOR YOURSELF (that's a key factor in this) and if you can say with confidence that God approves of your behavior most days then you've already won half the battle. We all have our bad days, and that's okay, because we're all human and we are all sinners, but it's recognizing that you are doing your absolute best for you and not for anyone else is what matters. If you are aiming to please others all the time, well you're wasting your time and you'll never find joy. Also, just because someone may criticize you doesn't mean that they don't respect you either.
Step 2 - You must let go of the things that you cherish the most and must "reassign your treasure"
We all have at least one thing that we so dearly love and without it we feel our lives will shatter right before us. For me, this would be control. I have a need to always be in control and I always have to know everything. When I have a set agenda and I am in control of a situation or a person I get such a high off of it, BUT the second I'm not in control or my plans change I just lose it! I don't know how to contain myself and I feel like a failure. It sounds silly because I know it's not realistic to control everything, yet I still try so incredibly hard to do it. The moment I am able to really believe that my treasure, which is control, should be left up to God and that His plan is far greater than I could ever dream of, that's when I will truly find an uncommon joy. So, think about what it is that you cherish so much and once you figure it out you will need to give that up to God. It is not easy or else I would've been able to do it already, but everything we have we owe it to Him. Plus, He wants to take our burdens for us, we just have to trust in Him.
Step 3 - You have to let go of the past and celebrate the current
I feel like that statement is pretty self explanatory so I won't over analyze it. Sometimes we think about the what if's in life and focus so much on those thoughts that we can't even appreciate where we are currently at. We cannot go back and change our decisions we've made, nor can we change past situations. Your past might have been wonderful or it might have so much heartbreak that you wish you could've avoided it, but whether you created those situations or someone else led you into those situations, you can't change it. Don't let outside forces rob you of your current joy.
I know this is a lot to take in, and maybe even difficult to understand for some of you, but finding joy isn't easy, because if it was there'd be a whole lot of joyful people walking down the street every day. Although this just ins't the case it is completely possible! I truly believe everyone is deserving of joy, but we also have to choose joy, especially when life isn't giving us enough lemons to make an ounce of lemonade. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it!