Have you ever lost your joy? Like no matter what you do or how hard you try, happiness just eludes you? Me too. As a kid I always thought that my life would just keep getting better and better. I couldn’t wait to grow up because I thought the older I got, the more control I’d have to do the things that made me happy.
Well, if you’re an adult like me, you know that’s a joke. I was married young; I had my first baby right after my 21st birthday and I’ve been a slave to responsibility ever since. Sadly, ten years and four babies later, I found myself facing divorce and life as a single mom.
I wanted to be happy, I really did. But I was tired, worried and drowning in grief. It seemed like something always happened to robbed me of my joy. A negative comment, a screaming baby, or bad traffic.
Then one day it dawned on me that I could spend my whole life waiting for the stars to align and happiness to appear in my life. My reality was far from what I’d always dreamed of, and my hope of finding joy in the future was dim. The irony is that the beginning of finding real joy came when I resigned myself to a life without it. I thought if I couldn’t be happy, then I’d just focus on being grateful for the things I did have and the things that were going right, and that would just have to be enough. So, I started writing down ten things I was grateful for every single morning. Seventy things every week, hundreds every month, thousands over the course of one year. I spent my days looking for things to be grateful for and before I knew it, my gratitude had filled me with joy.
You don’t have to wait for your circumstances to change to start experiencing joy. The Bible says rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thes. 5:16-18) Gratitude produces joy and thankfulness is a learned skill, so why not start now? Even when it’s hard, or maybe, especially when it’s hard.
What are you thankful for?