Recently, I transformed this blog from The Appreciator to Joy Seekers Collection. And to be completely honest, I’m not sure where I’m going with it. That’s not completely honest. I kind of have a plan but if you are going to be a champion of seeking joy – you better be good at it.
And I’m not sure I am. But we’ll get back to that.
As you may or may not know, Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy comes from somewhere within you. Something external makes you happy. So don’t strive only to be happy all the time. Because if you do – you’re dependant on factors in which you can’t control. You can’t control the diagnosis of cancer, or the death of a loved one or a freak disaster. So if you are riddled with one of these issues or a million more – you’re not happy. You can be happy waking up, then the day just beats down on you and draws that happiness out of you.
Oh but joy comes from within. If you have joy in your life, you have a different outlook. A different mindset.
I’ll give you a personal example. I have a lot of them. There was a time in my life about 19 years ago to be exact when everything I knew crumbled around me. A lot of you have heard the story of my dad’s death but this has to do with when my dad divorced my mom. That was harder. Hard times seem to come in triples or more. This is what was going on with me at 30 years old:
- My dad announced to our close-knit family that he was leaving my mom for another woman after 30+ years of marriage. This completely shocked us. My dad wasn’t like that!
- The first ad agency I went to work for after college and where I built my career – lost the core piece of business and I had to help let go almost 15 people several of them, close friends. I had a job but clearly needed to look elsewhere
- I fell through a glass table early in the morning (long story) and had to get stitches in my knee (owww!)
My whole world had crashed in on me. My family which was my mom, sister and brother were blown away by my dad’s announcement. And so hurt. My dad and I were really close and I couldn’t wait to marry someone just like him. Charismatic, a leader, funny and someone people respected. As he led my family around to 9 different cities and houses all we ever had was each other. This was so uncharacteristic. You can read the whole story here.
But this is about JOY.
I had no happiness at this time. I was beyond sad, let down and deflated. And what I’m going to say next is really not revolutionary. And maybe a little nutty. But it’s an example. I used to look at the trees outside my mom’s house and my apartment in Chicago and think about them. How long had they been there? How rooted they were in the ground. How God cares for them as He cares for me. And I started to think that I could get through this time as the trees had gotten through storms and drought and even new construction. I stared at these trees. I became grounded like these trees and it gave me hope. That I could get through this and one day, I’d be looking back on this situation. It made me wonder what part I could play in this drama in my life that could be positive.
That hope turned into joy as I discovered parts of me I never knew I had. Like forgiveness. Forgiveness is a form of joy because you are letting go of really negative feelings. Some of which may have existed inside you for a long time – keeping true joy at bay. Like hatred, betrayal and plain stupidity. When you forgive you look at life and a situation differently. Your focus moves from the person you’ve been hurt by to trying to understand the entire situation in a less personal way. When I did this I understood that my dad’s ego was bruised by retiring early. He lost his sense of identity and when a person in a leadership role loses his followers he is left with nothing. This is no excuse but my ability to try and understand this about his decision made me stop just being hurt by his stupid actions and take control of my feelings. He had screwed up, big time but I didn’t.
OK. So that was really deep. If you’ve read this far.
I seek for joy to be the cornerstone of who I am. I’m not there yet but I have a pretty good perspective. This can be a goal of yours too – no matter what issues you have now (newsflash – you’ll ALWAYS have issues!) whatever your upbringing was or troubles you face.
With this Joy Seekers Collective, we’re going to go on this journey together in the coming weeks and months. Sign up now to come on board!