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I think it is fairly normal for people to flitter back and forth between positive and negative thoughts and feelings. I know in my life, whether I am feeling positive or negative is greatly determined by my external surroundings. Put more simply, I am so guilty of instinctively feeling positive when my life is in a positive state and feeling negative when my life is in a negative state. Sadly, this often gives way to my happiness being dependent on being surrounded by i positive things rather than negative things. But, did you know that there is one simple thing you need to walk a new path?
When I find myself dealing with a trying season, I see this season as something to endure while being surrounded by unhappiness. This then gives way to thoughts such as…I simply have to endure this season, when I finally come through, then I can finally find peace, joy, happiness, and contentment.
While I recognize that this is not a good thing since I am a firm believer in having to weather the storm to find the beauty of the situation, it is not something that I have mastered as of yet.
I can say, though, that I have gotten better by doing this one simple thing, and it’s all about taking your thoughts captive and finding the joy in your life.
Here is the one thing you need to walk a new path.
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At the time of this writing, I am in the midst of a year long challenge that I began on January 1, 2016. This journey will then take me all the way through 2016, and it is a challenge that is all about finding joy in my life.
I chose this concept for my focus this year because I knew that I would need it. I knew that I faced the toughest year of my life and would need something to take my focus off my trying circumstances.
This is how I can to focus on finding joy in a new place, or from a new source, each week this year.
As of this writing, I am 17 weeks in, and I am so overly grateful for the ways that focusing on joy amidst challenges and setbacks has carried me through the struggles that may have otherwise broken me right down, at least for a time.
I am excited to share my discoveries with you because these are the ways that this one simple thing, this finding joy and contentment in the here and now rather than in the when I finally arrive line of thinking, can change your future as well.
Finding joy changes the focus from negative to positive
Life is hard, I get it, and we all face trials and storms. But the truth is that happiness and despair cannot occupy the same space. You are either focused on one or the other – you get to choose. When you focus on finding joy while in the storm of every trial, you will be focused on happiness rather than despair.
Finding joy equips you to carry a heavier burden going forward
As you become practiced in finding joy, you are better equipped when life threatens to suck everything out of you. Exercising this joy finding muscle is much like exercising an actual muscle in your boy. Repeating the joy finding mission builds muscle strength much in your overall life like lifting weights builds muscle strength in your body.
Finding joy affects how you treat others
When you are focused on joy, even in the midst of hard stuff, you have then moved from a negative state to a positive one, and this affects how you treat others.
Finding joy affects how you treat yourself
As in the previous example, being focused on seeing the good in your life means that you will experience less negative self talk, less self-criticism, less focus being put on the ways you fail and more focus on ways that you succeed.
Finding joy takes the focus off where you are going and puts it on where you are
The fact will always remain true that no one likes to face hard times, we can anticipate getting through trials to a different time and place, and we can hope that the trials we face will be short-lived, but, finding joy in the midst of these things helps you focus on being where you are in this moment. This is true even when life is hard.
Finding joy in your life helps you find the joy in the lives of others’ as well
The more skilled you get in finding joy in your life, the more you will be able to help others as they walk through difficult seasons. This is especially true if you are a mom. So often I hear myself comforting one of my kids using the concepts I’ve come to internalize as I have gotten better at finding joy.
Finding joy brings you closer to others
As you find joy, peace, and contentment in the midst of trials, you naturally draw closer to those who are in the midst of the trials with you…as long as you are truly putting this skill to work. This means no faking the joy finding skill. If you are truly finding joy in life every day, you will treasure those who mean the most to you even more than you did before.
While we all wish that life was just a cake walk, this is not a reality for anyone I know. Rather than getting caught up in the difficulties of your trial, focus on this one simple thing that really can help you walk a new path.
This post is reflection of the book we are reading as a book club community. This is the book we are reading.
Here is a bit more about our book club…
This book club is a way of encouraging others to carve out the time to read at a pace of just two chapters a week because I’ve learned that finding time to read never just happens on its own.
Generally, every Monday and Thursday there will be blog posts here with Monday’s Inspirational Reads somewhere in the title with my reaction to each of the two chapters for the week.
All you have to do is grab your book above, and you’re good to go! We’d love to have you join it, otherwise, grab your own copy and read any of the posts with Monday’s Inspirational Reads in the title and you can join in on your own time!