Joy is one aspect of our Divine Heritage. Joyfulness is innate. You can’t find joy, because something not lost can’t be found. Yet, if joy is always there, deep within each of us, why is it so difficult to sustain a joyous outlook on life?
In a society where it’s all about me, me, me… hands reaching out for a gimme…and millennials, the entitlement generation, expect life on a plate…where does God fit?
So, are you thinking something like – But, what about proactive Christians? Aren’t we taught to put God before ‘me’ in every sentence?
Of course! Putting God first is the right thing. Yet, what about our so-called joy-stealers – stress, mean-spirited people, financial problems, family problems and so on?
First, joy is not accidental. We were born to be joyful. This means nothing can ‘steal’ our joy unless we let it. And we are less apt to let it, by remembering the words in Nehemiah 8-10 – “…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Now that you are aware joyfulness is inside you, the question is – How can you manifest your happy juju into your everyday reality?
Expressing joy is within your power because no outside influence can separate you and your joy. It’s all about attitude.
How to Cultivate a Joyful Attitude
It’s human nature to dwell on negative irritations to the extent we miss out on small joys that are happening in the present.
Live in the moment, don’t live in the future, i.e. “I’ll be happy when so-and-so happens.”
Make a list of 10 things that have generated your joy in the past. Examples: quiet moments watching sunset, Tai Chi, reading, live theatre, retail therapy, nature walks and dancing. Do them again.
Expressing gratitude can lift your spirits into the joyful realm. You may have heard it before, but it’s worth reiterating – keep a gratitude journal. Each night, write about five blessings that occurred during that day. Be mindful, that all blessings come from God. Say a thank you prayer. God likes it when we appreciate him.
It’s tough enough to forgive someone, but if you’re holding onto resentments, anger and hate, it’s nigh impossible. When you can accept that any act of forgiveness is directed to yourself, not the person who harmed you, you will feel an incredible lightness of being.
Because, you need not face the perpetrator with contrition. When you can forgive yourself, the other person is automatically forgiven, without knowledge of your act of forgiveness.
Letting go of pain and anger, creates a void for happy emotions to fill. Watch your joy-full-self soar!
Hang with Happy People
Joy is contagious. Surely you know a happy person or three. For instance, have you ever seen more blissful faces than those of Christians on Sunday morning? These people are loving, supportive and inspiring.
Cheerful people are fully present with life and will influence your mood. The closer you are to joyous people, the more long-lasting your positive disposition will be.
Be Service Minded
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others – Philippians 2:4
Get outside yourself and help someone else. Volunteer, share, help someone in need and don’t worry about what you’ll get in return. Serve in silence, i.e. fill a basket with treats and put it on somebody’s porch. Knock and scurry away. (Sorta like backwards ‘trick or treat’.)
Little Mind Tricks Bring Great Joy
Hum a happy tune.
Be joyful in the LORD – you know you want to.