My mom used to call me "Pollyanna" sometimes when I was growing up. Do you get the reference? Yep, that little blonde girl played by Hayley Mills who was constantly playing her "gladness" game and driving everybody around her completely crazy!
But for all the times she irritated others, she also inspired them to see the best of things and see opportunities to bless others. Her positive outlook and incessant joy radiated from her and impacted those closest to her. So I don't know about you, but I'm honored to have been compared to her!
A LIFE CHARACTERIZED BY JOY
I don't always feel much like Pollyanna these days. It's easy to get bogged down with stress and frustration and to-do lists. It's much harder to hold onto joy and gladness.
But I realized not too long ago that I don't want to be remembered for what I've accomplished. I want to be remembered for loving and encouraging others, for radiating and spreading joy. That's the legacy I want to leave.
And that means I have to choose joy everyday. That means I have to prioritize joy and love over accomplishments and productivity. That means I have to remember what's most important and let go of what isn't.
That means I have to pursue joy and look for it everywhere I go and in everything I do. I still have to wash the dishes and do the laundry, but I can look for joy in them. I still see the hard things in the world and in the lives of the people closest to me, but I choose to believe that God is still good and there is still reason to be joyful.
If I want my life to be characterized by joy, I have to live joyfully every day. Otherwise stress and busyness take over before I know it! Our small, daily choices become our habits, so if I want to be a more joyful person, I need to make regular decisions to seek and choose joy.
FINDING THE JOY
Much of chasing everyday joy is figuring out what it is that brings each of us joy. For me, it's a beautiful sunset, time spent with friends and family, really good food, pretty flowers, good music, and good books, just to name a few.
What brings you joy?
A child's smile?
A beautiful sunset?
A friend's deep belly laugh?
Hearing your favorite song come on the radio?
Getting to sleep an extra thirty minutes?
It's amazing, isn't it, the power such simple things have to bring us such profound joy?
In light of that, perhaps we can remember that joy can be found in the simplest of things, if only we would take the time to pay attention. Things like these are all around us, just waiting for us to enjoy them!
IT'S IN THE LITTLE THINGS
Joy is waiting for you in the little things all around you: time to yourself, nailing a presentation or project, crossing things off your to-do list, a coffee date or phone call with a friend, a sweet unexpected message, or hearing your favorite song on the radio.
If we're not careful, we might take those things for granted and not see the immense amount of joy they can bring us. We might let our difficulties and stress overshadow the joy these things can bring about within us. Or we can choose to pause and celebrate each and every one, no matter what else is going on in and around us.
CELEBRATING SMALL WINS
Do you know what else can bring us joy? Taking a moment to celebrate how far we've come. It's easy and normal to get so caught up in our projects and goals that we don't see how far we've come until we're done. But each step towards finishing or accomplishing our end goal deserves a little celebration! That's how we keep up enough momentum to keep going and maintain joy throughout the process.
Think about it. If you're trying to pay off all your debt, but you're not planning on celebrating at all until you're completely finished, you'll be waiting for a while, deferring your joy. But if you celebrate for each loan you pay off, you'll see your progress more clearly and keep your spirits up the whole time! Instead of focusing on just how much farther you have to go, you'll be able to better appreciate how far you've already come.
There's always going to be room for improvement, and we're always going to have some sort of challenges in our lives, but that doesn't mean we can't be chasing joy at the same time! We can make the most of our situations and find the greatest amount of peace and rest in knowing there is always something to be joyful about, always something to be thankful for, if only we would pause for a minute to see it.
What's bringing you joy today? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
And if you're interested in pursuing a life of greater joy with other women, check out my group!