I’ve been thinking about finding joy in this holiday this week, mostly because a sweet friend of mine taught a wonderful lesson in church on Sunday about finding joy in our lives. It got me thinking all about when I feel joyful (not nearly often enough), why I feel joyful when I do, and how I can feel it more often.
My conclusion? I am the stifler of my own joyful experiences.
Of course, I think all of us will admit to being more stressed than we should be, too distracted from the “important” things, and generally living the crazy life: kids, jobs, bills, keeping things afloat. And while certainly the execution of daily events can make or break a joyful experience, that’s not what I’m talking about. When I say I stifle my own joy, this is what I mean.
When I find a solution to a problem that seemed completely insurmountable only hours before, but I don’t allow myself to feel the all-encompassing relief and divine gratitude for my answer because I’m afraid I’ve misunderstood and something will still go wrong.
When I refuse to smile and laugh with my toddlers and their silliness because minutes before they were being stubborn and disobedient and I’m still angry about it.
When I get ready in the morning and ignore makeup or earrings (which I love) because I don’t like that my jeans are a little on the snug side.
When someone surprises me with something thoughtful and I refrain from reacting enthusiastically in order to avoid looking silly.
When I pout for hours (or days!) about an assumed slight, which of course I later find I completely blew out of proportion.
I could go on, and on, and on–and I don’t think I’m the only one.
You don’t have to raise your hands, or confess anything here, but think about it. Are you having a Merry Christmas? Are there things about your attitude that could change the way your world looks right now? Because even though my shopping isn’t done (or even started!), my Christmas tree is a bit lopsided, and I have yet to make goodies or dance with the kiddos to a rousing rendition of Jingle Bell Rock, I happen to know that my Merry Christmas starts right here with me. My head. My willingness to be joyful. To feel joy.
No one is going to make my life joyful, my Christmas Merry. Except for me.
I appreciate the reminder.