It is not a secret that over the last several months I have managed to lose my joy. I have been feeling overwhelmed by life. My circumstance have been sucking the life out of me and along with it my joy.
If any of you have ever experienced a season of "joy drought", you know where I am coming from when I say, life is hard, and when circumstances out of our control, and even those in our control, spiral out of control, life becomes harder than it needs to be.
I personally would not equate the "joy drought" with depression, as I was still able to function. I handled all my responsibilities, was able to do all that needed to be done each day including many activities that I just wanted to do, but I just was joy less!
Additionally, during this time, when there was any sort of incident in my day, it became overblown and would drag me down into my joyless pit further. I have spent more time in the last three months being cranky, and out of sorts than I ever remember in my life, and you know what? I do not like this new joyless me.
It hit me about three weeks ago that there was a huge hole in my life. I had become a Negative Nancy, a crankapotamus... looking up from the bottom of the pit I could see the slow progression it had been into said pit. I made up my mind, I wanted out.... so I purposed to start the slow steady climbing out, one day at a time, attempting to adjust my attitude, roll with life's punches, and trying to keep a bit better of a perspective. I am not going to lie, it is not going to be as easy as I thought to resurface in a joy filled life. Each day I made some progress (usually when I was alone, and the house was quiet) but by the end of the day, or the third or fifth interruption of my day... I saw myself backsliding into that stupid joyless pit!! Oh the frustration of knowing you want to overcome something, yet finding yourself close to the same place at the end of the day again!! However, I was rejoicing that my eyes had been opened to my situation and at least I could see how I was managing to get there... and I had not slipped the whole way to the bottom... progress!!
Fast forward to this morning. I went to our church for the annual Christmas program and I was reminded about the joy of the season, and why in my life I need to find my joy again. I love Christmas. I love the peace, the calm, the reason for the season. I was once again reminded that I can't continue to make excuses and blame others for my joylessness. I am allowing them to steal my joy. I have stopped fighting back. I have become defeated and I allowed life to beat me down. One can not live that way for long! It was one more reminder that I need to find the joy of the Lord, the joy of small victories, the joy that comes from being a child of the one true king. For the sake of my family, I need to regain my joy. For the sake of my friendships I need to regain my joy. For the sake of my witness I must regain my joy. For my own personal sanity I have to regain my joy.
In the midst of my self reflection the last few days, a funny thing happened to me this afternoon. I opened JOY. Joy had been sitting in my house for a week all covered up in wrapping paper inside a HUGE cardboard box. I opened a box filled with JOY. I wanted JOY. I fell in love with JOY last Christmas at our local hardware store, and rediscovered my love of JOY this year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when the same store had the same JOY up for display again in the decoration aisle.
I now own JOY!! She is all mine! She is shiny. She is a light in the dark for all to see. She is my reminder that I want to be JOY!! Not only is my JOY large as life, she is a great reminder that when we have joy, we are larger than life to others!
Our joy can be contagious, just like our lack of joy. I want to be known for my larger than life JOY regardless of what life hands me, and trust me lately it has been a ton of tough stuff. None of that stuff is a surprise to my God. Remembering to trust in Him, not in myself, or the actions or reactions of those I am surrounded by will help me stay grounded in my JOY!!
I am thankful to my family who heard about my love of JOY, and who made the sacrifice to buy me JOY, even when I was the opposite of JOY, as she now is my perfect visual reminder of exactly what and whom I want to be !
For those of you that may have been affected by my joylessness, I hope you will soon see the return of true and heartfelt joy in my life. Feel free to hold me accountable, call me out if you would as I will appreciate it later even if I am cranky about it in the moment. Rejoicing in the reminders of the Christmas season and the many, many reasons that I have to celebrate JOY!!