What is true joy? This has been one of those internal questions I’ve had since my early 20’s. How do I find true joy so I can enjoy my life instead of constantly struggling? I’ve come to the realization that we all have struggles. They are a part of everyone’s life, rich or poor. Even scripture tells us we will struggle.
So how do we get through those struggles? I think the answer to that lies partly in our faith. Faith gives us the courage to do what we need to in order to get to the other side. Faith starts in our hearts of course, but even more, I believe it’s in the power of our thoughts. It’s the ability to be grateful no matter what our circumstances are.
I used to think joy was some grand unreachable goal. One day I asked someone what they thought true joy was and they smugly said “Having lunch with Pamela Anderson.” Not exactly the answer I was looking for! I wasted so many years depending on someone else to bring me joy. In reality that very joy I had been searching for, was already laying dormant inside of me. It was hidden in my own heart and mind wrapped in the package of negative self-talk.
I’ve come to realize the more grateful I am, more joy comes to me in unexpected ways. Gratefulness is the antidote to our negative outlook on our lives. There seems to be some sort of universal law that proves like attracts like. If we are mad at the world, the world will be mad right back at us. If I am angry with my children then that negative energy will saturate my home.
When I was constantly ungrateful for my last vehicle it just kept on breaking down putting me further and further behind in my other bills. It was an endless cycle. When I finally changed my thought process of defeat I figured out a way to turn things around and I was sure to be grateful. There’s not a morning that goes by where I do not get in my car and silently give thanks for a dependable car. I thank God that He provides for me in many ways. It wasn’t a brand new vehicle but it was just what I needed and I love it.
In 2013 I almost lost my house and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had owned the house since 2005 and it was to the point where it needed some updating and repairs. I felt overwhelmed and alone. It seemed like too much financially and emotionally. The more I worried about how I was going to fix what needed fixing, more would break. At one point the the refrigerator decided to stop working. Sparing you the negative details of what we went through, I’ll share the good things that ensued. A good friend of mine referred me to someone who needed a house cleaner. I worked my normal full time job during the week and cleaned on the weekends.
Each evening until well after midnight I threaded silk ribbons into about 20,000 jewelry bags for another friend’s work client. Can I tell you how tired I was? But my gratitude for these opportunities made me not quit. Having a home for my kids was priority. I didn’t want to be a failure to them.
Every morning I wake up in my warm bed I am so thankful. Perhaps it’s the struggles that make us great. Isn’t silver refined by the fire? Struggles force us to reflect on how things used to be and how far we’ve come. They mold us and refine us into the people we are today. After all, great people are really just ordinary people who refuse to give up.