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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If you had time to yourself…….

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My mother is an artist.  If you were to interview her you would hear how she has spent years in her creative atmosphere listening to uplifting music and finding great joy! Her hobby has inspired our entire family!  My mother understands the value of a fantastic, life-giving hobby.

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My Niece, Erica, is a fantastic Jr. High teacher.  However, over the years she established quite a following on Etsy making these incredible hand-sewn stuffed animals.  They are amazing. Erica found a hobby that brings her joy, fills her cup, and gives her a good “brain-break”.

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A hobby is defined in the dictionary as; “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation “.

What’s your hobby?  What do you do ~outside of work or ministry ~ that fills your cup?  What’s your “go to” activity?  It’s well-known that eating well, good rest, and exercise are important for us to remain healthy physically and mentally; yet we often forget that there is an enormous value in leisure time.  Time spent pursuing a hobby!

Hobbies are actually food for the soul!  They nurture our spirits, renew our minds, and help us catch our breath in the midst of our busy lives.  Studies have even suggested that people who engage in hobbies regularly, especially creative hobbies, actually perform better at work!

If you are a person who thinks that a hobby is only a waste of time, think again! If you are sitting there thinking that you simply don’t have time for a hobby; then you probably really need one. 🙂

Whether you have a creative hobby, an athletic hobby, an outdoor hobby like fishing or gardening, or an academic hobby; you will find that giving yourself permission to take the time will help you to recharge, learn new insights, gain a more balanced perspective, and connect with interesting people with similar hobbies.

I challenge you to keep allowing yourself to engage in your favorite hobby, re-engage in a hobby you’ve laid down, consider a hobby if you’ve never had one, and see if you begin to experience a greater sense of well-being.  I believe you will! 🙂