Where’s your Joy?~

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Lose anything lately?  Car keys? Glasses? Credit card?  It is so easy to lose “stuff” isn’t it?  However, according to Pastor Rick Warren “The easiest thing of all to lose is your joy. You can lose it with one phone call or email, a letter or conversation. You can watch a commercial or the news on TV and lose your joy. It’s the easiest thing in the world to lose.”  Have you been losing your joy and if you have, is it possible to get it back?

I say “yes”, but I think it’s important to figure out what’s stealing your joy before you can regain it. What’s diminishes joy in your life?  I will give you a few suggestions to consider:

What are you reading, watching or listening to regularly?

Are you constantly absorbed with negative news, rants on Facebook, or sad songs?  If we have a steady diet of things that create negative emotions within us we will begin to see our joy slip away.  I love the scripture verse that says “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Philippians 4:8   Perhaps it’s time to redirect your focus to new input that encourages and inspires you.

How do you talk to yourself?

I have often said that “there are times in my life that I have spoken to myself in ways that I would never allow anyone to talk to me.”

What you tell yourself about yourself, others and everything that happens to you will determine how you feel.  We can be so harsh with ourselves. Take a little time and observe the stories you tell yourself about yourself.  Are your words life-giving or do your words regularly steal your joy? Perhaps it’s time to turn your words around realizing it’s time to apply kindness to yourself in the same way you freely show kindness to others.

Are you walking in fear?

Are you facing uncertainties and challenges that have caused you to become fearful and anxious?  Fear and anxiety are joy robbers for certain.   There are uncertainties in life, the daily news can create situations that heighten our fears, however, if we get stuck in our fears we will lose our joy only every time!  Perhaps there are some activities you can add to your calendar that will lift you from a fear-filled place to a hope-filled place:  talk your fears through with someone life-giving, exercise, pray, volunteer your time, or do something artistic. Engaging in activities that help you “get out of your head” can help lessen your level of fear and anxiety.

How’s your health?

Do you wake up refreshed? How’s your energy level? Are you proactive in taking care of yourself?  Not feeling well, not feeling energetic, or simply feeling out of shape can affect your joy.  Perhaps it’s time to make some adjustments in your lifestyle.  Do you need to laugh and play more often?  Do you need to add exercise to your daily routine? Time to prepare meals with better nutrition and take a break from fast foods for a while? Take small steps in a fresh direction and celebrate each small win! Not only will you feel better, you will feel better about yourself which can bring you renewed joy.

Joy comes from within us.   The aim is to navigate those things rob us from expressing our joy.   Joy is not happiness’. Joy is something deeper. Joy is a choice we make every day.  Joy, real joy, weathers the challenges and changes in our lives.  Guard it well.

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It’s a Screen Free Day!! Enjoy it!!

On a trip to Kauai a couple years back Greg and I went on a Catamaran Excursion.  We love to to that; just to get out on the vast open sea looking for dolphin, flying fish, turtles, and perhaps even a whale or two!! On this particular trip we were most struck by something else we saw~~ a couple who were aboard spent the entire trip using their cell phones at opposite ends of the boat!! They didn’t really interact much, appreciate the view, or enjoy the romance of it all. Nope~ on their phones the entire time!!

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Recently, at one of my favorite restaurants I looked across the crowded room only to observe a family of 5 having dinner together.  Well, actually they were eating in each others presence, but they were all on their “smart phones” sending texts or playing games! So much for their family dinner!

Driving home from work I always pass a great little park filled with kids; there’s a climbing wall, fun slide, and lots of room to run.  Along the outside of the park there are places for parents to sit to watch there kids playing.  This particular day  I observed that 4 out of the 5 moms had their eyes firmly fixed on the screen of their “smart phones” missing out on the fun and giggles coming from their young children!

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Yesterday, a gal driving a small car right behind me on the overpass continually came up too close behind my car as I headed home.  Looking in my rear view mirror I could see that she was looking down at her lap sending and reading texts the entire time, rarely looking up to see what was ahead.  Had I needed to stop quickly we would have been in a frightful situation!

So, I think it’s time for everyone to start to take some “Screen Free” time!! Catch your breath, disconnect from social media and your phone for a little while.  Remember back in the “old days” when we would come home and get our phone messages? Back when we weren’t so readily accessible?

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Read, connect with a friend face to face, play with your kids, go for a walk~~ so many wonderful things to enjoy!  Give yourself permission to regularly disconnect from your screen, any screen, and fully engage in your life in fresh ways!  It’s the weekend, try it today! 🙂