Revisiting Joy, or at least trying to

RevisitingJoyI am not a happy person. Now I know that happiness can come and go so let me take it a step further, I am not a joyful person – at all. Now that’s a problem. I have often excused myself as a “serious”, “conscientious”, “focused”, or any other positive adjective type of person, but this is not the whole of the truth. I am simply not happy, joyful, or pleasant during much of life. The saddest part is that my family is hurt by this the most. I whole-heartedly believe that I have the power to set the tone of my home – for better or worse. While I believe that my family knows I love them with everything that I am, I don’t think I would ever be their first choice when looking for an uplifting moment. I have known this needs to change, but have felt incapable. However, I am not a quitter…

Realizing the need for external assistance, I began reading “Can I Have Joy in My Life?” by R.C. Sproul this morning. I only read the first chapter and have clearly been taught one thing – as someone who claims belief in Jesus, joy is not an option – it is a command. The words of psalmists, Paul and Christ command me to have joy. Nowhere is joy referred to as something to be hoped or wished for. I am called on to be filled with joy. I sat down the book feeling a bit defeated at the thoughts of being required to do something I can only superficially fulfill, which is no fulfillment at all. Hopefully, the rest of the book will offer practical instruction to help me in this pursuit. Now, on to work.

My workday began with a study on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). As I was reviewing some of the things that have successfully gained positive results on the web, I came across my own blog – the one you’re reading now. Apparently, people have a lot of interest in getting a quick review and list of quotes from popular authors. In all likelihood, these are the people who want the Cliff’s Notes for the Cliff’s Notes. I’m happy to oblige. Anyway, as I reread a few of the more popular posts, I came across my review of The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews. This brought me back to my morning struggle with “joy”. Here is a quick quote from that post:

It’s not that anything lifechanging was reveald to me for the first time, it’s more like truth that I have always known was affirmed and applied in a lifechanging way. The seven truths carefully gifted from well known historical and spiritual figures are –

  1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.
  2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
  3. I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.
  4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.
  5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.
  6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.
  7. I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith.

In 2009, I apparently had a life-changing read helping me to understand that happiness is indeed a choice (#5). How easily I have forgotten this, and indeed I have forgotten. It’s not that I am unwilling to make this choice; I truly do not know how. I suppose it’s time to reread this book because one thing I have not forgotten is point #3 – I am a person of action!

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