My dear friends, do you have enough joy in your life?
I want more joy in my life.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am blessed beyond measure. I have a great husband, four daughters who have grown up to be blessings, eight grandchildren whom I never see often enough, and three great-grandchildren who are certain to do well in life. Two sons-in-law and two sisters whom I adore, a close church family, as well as many other dear friends both near and far.
My husband and I are both healthy with the exceptions of a few issues we don’t dwell on. We live a full and active life. We are able to pay all our bills each month if we don’t splurge on many non-essentials. Our home is old, but the peace and quiet of country living far surpasses the inconvenience of a detached garage and only one bathroom.
I am content. I am richly blessed, and I am grateful.
According to Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance, being grateful is the first step in finding joy. And I want to feel joy more often! I want to feel the kind of unbridled joy children experience – gleeful joy!
By nature, I am a quiet, soft-spoken, laid back person. Yet, I do feel a fleeting burst of joy at the brilliant flash of a bluebird in flight. Bright blue flowers make my heart sing with joy. The look in my husband’s eyes when he says he loves me sends jolts of joy through me. The arrival of another baby in our family is a joyous occasion.
I am not without joy in my life. But I want more. I want my whole life to be joyous. I want my heart to bubble over with joy on a daily basis.
At this point, many of you want to shout at me – you want to tell me how lucky I am to have contentment in my life. Many people do not have that.
I know. And I am grateful. Deeply grateful. I know how blessed I am. And there was a time when I did not realize how blessed I was.
Many years ago, I began hearing myself complain to friends about my husband. Things he did. Things he didn’t do. That became all too frequent.
Back then, every weekday at four p.m. I left my home office and turned on the television to watch The Oprah Winfrey Show. One day her guest was author Sarah Ban Breathnach. Oprah told us that she had taken the advice in Sarah’s book, Simple Abundance, and began keeping a Gratitude Journal. Oprah said doing that made her life so much better.
Well, I thought that Oprah had already been having a very good life, so if it made her life better, I should give it a try. So, I did.
Every evening before I went to bed, I listed five things I was grateful for that day. Soon, I realized that most of the things I was most grateful for were the things my husband had done or said that day. Slowly, the things that had been irritating me about him, seemed inconsequential in light of the many wonderful attributes I now saw more clearly. It changed the way I saw him. It changed the way I felt about him. It changed me.
Of course, it also made me more aware of many other things I had either overlooked or taken for granted. It made me actively grateful for the many blessings I have.
Now, since the first principle of finding joy is gratitude, I will:
- Begin keeping a gratitude journal again.
- I will continue to thank God daily for the blessings He grants me.
- I will make one call each day to thank someone for what they did.
- I will send one note each day to thank someone whom I appreciate.
In February I will begin to follow the second principle of finding joy. Would you be interested in going on this journey with me? Here in my newsletter, I will share how I do on this journey.
I would love to hear about your journey as well.