Thursday, May 24, 2012

Choosing Joy

Sometimes i make little month long goals for myself. 
i find it helps me to make or break habits & i feel satisfied knowing i'm working on one little tic & hopefully after a month - i'll have changed some thought patterns, decreased the power of a bad habit or formed a slightly better one.
& a month is such a kind task master... i don't feel a crushing failure if i pick up my bad habit again, or fail to follow through on a goal for the rest of my life... but hopefully - in month long minuscule chunks, i'll make changes that will bring me closer to where i want to go. 
A couple of months ago - i made myself a goal like that.  i decided that for one month, i was going to lay down some really specific things that i was stewing about.  They were things that i could point to & name & say, "This.  This thing is causing me pain..."  They were things that i had already brought to my Father - & they were all things that were beyond my control.  Day after day - i had grown in the habit of picking up these things - and rolling them discontentedly around in my head & heart.  i'd sit in sadness & wish them different... i'd pray about them & surrender them to my Father again & again... i'd stew, talk to Neil, & really... honestly... obsess over them - feeling like unless they could be resolved, i could go no further. 
i called it my month of choosing joy.  i was going to stop the constant dwelling.  My prayers would all be, 'YOU know, Father...' & leaving it there.  i'd wear my smile - & i decided even if it was false... i'd try it for a month. For one month, i'd let joy win.  i had always been grateful - & there is so much love in this house & so i figured a little redirection - one month - couldn't hurt. 
i could never have anticipated what happened...
The next day was easy. 
i thought maybe it was just the distraction of a fun outing i'd had.  i laughed and i cried... i spent time praying - but not dwelling... & it was good. 
Day after day after day passed.  Thoughts came - but flitted out quickly.  i smiled to myself... As a woman - i know that a month is a very significant time frame - our calendars are wired right into our bodies & i figured, "Ah, it's gonna hit me - that shift - & i'm going to crash... there's no way that i can continue to sail through like this..."
But i did. 
The weeks flew - & at the end of it i smiled to my Father, "What's up with that?  Why no struggle?  Why was i released, the cloud lifted... right when i was prepared to take every thought captive, work hard, & choose joy - why does it feel like instead, joy was chosen for me?" 
& it wasn't perfect. 
A couple days after i was finished, i snapped at Neil & he turned to me with those bewildering, smirking hazel eyes & asked, "um... aren't you 'choosing joy' babe?"
& i laughed sarcastically, "That was for a month & i'm all done now!" 
& y'know... not one of those frustrating situations changed? 
But i'm praying...
that by God's grace...
that maybe i can.


Lisa said...

As you know, i'm on my own joy challenge, and I can't even tell you the work God has done in my heart just from me choosing to see His blessings instead of my hardships. Honestly, its been nothing short of a miracle.

Carol said...

Have you read the book "1000 Gifts" by Anne Voscamp? Her book has become very popular and I think you would really relate to her, as she homeschools her family of 6 children. The theme of this book is about being thankful and finding joy in everyday life. She lives quite close to me here in SW Ontario.

Marcy P said...

Good for you girl!! I know it was God giving you that grace. Isn't he good? Joy is so much I'm totally going to apologise to my husband when he gets home b/c he got a whole lot of flack he didn't deserve today. Thanks for this.

Marcy P said...
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