My 5th graders this week randomly started saying ‘JOY’ during one of my classes after I rolled up my left sleeve. They were goofing off, but then one of them asked why I got my JOY tattoo.
Off the top of my head I answered, “Because now my JOY is permanently a part of me. Nobody can take it away, nobody can steal it. No matter how hard they try.” My relationship with God promises He will be my joy, but boy do some people put overtime into the whole ‘misery loves company’ bit. And a relationship with Christ doesn’t absolve us of day-to-day frustrations. And you know how when you are absolutely resolved to doing something, obstacles the size of basketballs are thrown into your path? That was me after getting my JOY inked on my wrist.
So I decided to come up with the top three things I need to do in order to make sure I retain my JOY.
1. Commit to it.
Decide right off the bat that this is it. Give myself no option to opt out. Think back to the last time you truly committed to something. And how spectacularly empowering and freeing the fulfillment of that commitment was. I firmly believe that when we wholly commit to something, anything is possible. Make it as sure as the summer sun in Savannah – absolute, unwavering, powerful.
2. Remember why you’re at where you’re at.
Having a solid purpose for a situation increases our sense of staying power. Prioritize, and remember the big picture.
– Anger at your job? Remember why you’re there, whether it’s because underneath the crap you love what you do, you’re feeding your family, or you’re standing on your own two feet.
– Anger in your marriage? Remember why you’re there. Remember the day you got married and the promise you made to go through the best and worst of times, together.
– Anger at your church? Remember why you’re there. You have a relationship with Christ, and He is your reason.
3. Find an outlet for the anger.
Because anger doesn’t evaporate or dissolve into thin air. Like rainwater, the anger needs a place to go. We don’t want rain water sitting on our streets or in our basement for too long; things rot, we lose precious pieces of our histories, we are devastated by loss and destruction. Think about Katrina or the Nashville flood – all the time and energy and people and things lost when there was heavy rain and nowhere for it to go. Don’t let your anger be like that. Run, crochet, write, watch TV, read, dance, scream into a pillow, kick box, swim, cuddle with a puppy, go see a counselor – anything that transfers that anger from the inside to the outside.
I am convinced that if I can lean on these three things (with help under each item!), my JOY will be easier to retain and harder to steal. I am resolved to remain joyful as I move into my thirties and through my marriage, parenthood, my friendships, family relationships, professional life, spiritual life, and all of life’s natural trials that inevitably come along.
Happy JOYful living!