The Keys to a Joyful Life
Updated: Nov 9, 2021
as the seasons are changing and it's starting to cool down here in the UK AND as we have a huge transition in front of us I have been pondering contentedness and having joy in the situations I currently find myself in. You see, when I have big things looming before me I get impatient. I'm an action-oriented kind of gal who doesn't much like sitting around contemplating life. But as I've been thinking through the past 12 years living overseas I see how much I have to be thankful for. And how very different I am now as a 39 year old mother than I was as a 27 year old single. And to be completely honest with you, that is giving me pause. I was having lunch with someone I've known for a long time, but hadn't seen in about 18 months, and we were talking through my family's upcoming move and what moving back to your home culture is like (he's been through something similar in the past two years). It really struck me how different I am now to who I was when I left. And yet, how much the same I am as that girl who left the Dallas Metroplex 12 years ago. Change is funny, isn't it. So much of who we are morphs and grows and matures (and hopefully becomes more Christ-like), but then we're still recognisable as the person we were before before all the changes. How will my old friends and family members interact with the same me who's actually not the same anymore?! How will who I am now shine through the old me that lives in their memories?
It's also gotten me to thinking about how interesting my life has been so far. I've been through some weird stuff in my life--and I've lived through some difficult, trying situations and circumstances. But, through it all, even when life really sucked, I think the people around me would still have said that I didn't let my circumstances steal my joy. That I have remained uplifted and able to give from the overflow of my heart. I certainly hope so! Here are a few things I do each day to keep my joyful attitude up and to not let my circumstances get the better of me.
1) I am grateful every day for the things that God has given to me. And I name those things out loud. If they are people I'm thankful for then I tell them. And I'm sincere about it. We don't tell people enough how much we love and appreciate them being in our lives. This helps me to take a good survey of my life to see what all I have to be grateful for. And it causes my gaze to look up rather than at my own navel.
2) I take the bad thoughts captive! When I start getting upset or down about something in my life, I do not let those thoughts settle and make themselves at home. I stop them as they come, and reframe/rework them with a positive spin. If I'm annoyed with someone I stop and think of one nice thing I like and appreciate about them. Finding positives in others and situations helps me to see them from a different angle, and it helps the negative feelings and thoughts to stay far away.
3) I am realistic with what I can do, and I ask for help when I need it. I know what my priorities are, and I do what needs to be done to make sure those are taken care of. If there is space for more then I look at what is on offer to me. Keeping the main thing the main thing helps me know what to say yes to and what to say no to. This keeps life manageable and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed which would steal my joy. And it allows me to know when I need to ask for help. Living overseas for 12 years has made me realize I live better in community rather than as a lonely island. Asking for help is a sign of maturity.
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