Wednesday, January 1, 2014

J*O*Y

Happy New Year! The New Year is a perfect time to make a fresh start, to set new goals, and to try new things. I haven't really made a "resolution" so to speak, but I have chosen a word - a special word - for 2014. I have chosen

[via Yahoo! Image search]
 
JOY. I allow myself to get caught up in my "to-do" list, the chaos of a busy family life, and the illusion of "balance" as a working mom. There is no balance. This past year I became acutely aware that the search for happiness is a driving force in the world today....especially for women. Let me explain.  Have you read the #1 New York Times Bestseller by Gretchen Rubin entitled, The Happiness Project? This is an account of a full year this author and mother spent identifying what truly made her happy. After two years on the New York Times Bestseller list, she went on to write another book entitled, Happy At Home. Of course, given the recent scandal, we are all familiar with Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson whose catchphrase is "Happy. Happy. Happy." The preamble to the Declaration of Independence states that "we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Pinterest is filled with millions of pins captioned, "JOY" or "HAPPINESS."  It seems we are zealously pursing happiness with an unquenchable thirst.  Is it really that complicated?
  
Webster's dictionary defines JOY as "a feeling of great happiness; a source or cause of great happiness, something or someone that gives joy to someone; success in doing, finding or getting something." The Bible tells us, joy is one of the fruits of the spirit - "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23.  Hmmm....as a mama, I teach my children to demonstrate gentleness and self-control. I show them love and how to love others. I pray for peace for our family and peace within our home. I try to set an example for them of goodness and faithfulness. I consciously demonstrate forbearance by showing tolerance and restraint. I CHOOSE to live by the fruits of the spirit. Therefore, in the same way, rather than rush after JOY, I must CHOOSE to live joyfully.
 
In her book, The Happiness Project, Rubin says, "I wasn't depressed and I wasn't having a mid-life crisis, but I was suffering from mid-life malaise..." She goes on to explain that some days she would look around and think, "Is this it? Is this my life? Yup. It is. This is it." As I read these words, I felt Gretchen Rubin seemed to know me well. It is not at all that I am unhappy with my life; quite the contrary. I have a gorgeous, smart, amazing husband who still makes my heart pitter-patter and who makes me laugh every day. We have 3 children who are absolutely the sunshine of our lives. Their energy, creativity, and zest for life though sometimes, exhausting, is also refreshing allowing us to see the world through their innocent eyes. We have a house that I love. It is not large. It is not fancy. But after 15 years and several redecorating projects, it really feels like us. We live in a small community that truly lives by the "it takes a village" mantra. Our children have loving, gifted, Christian teachers in their lives. We have great friends. We have family nearby. We have a wonderful church family. We both have good jobs that we are {mostly} happy with! We are all healthy. Life is good. It is really good.
 
The New York Times Bestseller List, Phil Robertson, our forefathers, the Bible....they are all onto something here. I'm sure other mothers feel as I do though...I am often overwhelmed by my day-to-day tasks as a working mother and wife. I have very high expectations for myself as a wife and mother. I like things to be perfect. My stress is usually self-inflicted. No one else thinks things need to be perfect. I am guilty, though, of allowing a flat tire, an overcooked dinner, or a messy house to alter my level of happiness and contentment. In this desperate search for "balance," I often lose the joy that is quietly present in each day. I fail to recognize it unless I stop and MAKE myself reflect on the big picture. Wowzers. Life is good and I choose JOY.  My goal for 2014 is to find the joy in each day. Even ordinary days.
 
For 2014 I CHOOSE JOY! Who is with me?

2 comments:

  1. Love this! I feel like you took this right out of my head lol.

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    1. :) Ha! Thanks, Abbey! It is a always amazing to me to realize others think and feel the way I do too! Happy New Year to you!

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