Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Living a Joyful Life

Psalm 149:3-5 "Let them praise His name in festive dance, make music...for the LORD takes delight in His people...Let the faithful rejoice in their glory, cry out for joy at their banquet."


I've been pondering the meaning of joy lately. Probably due to this fabulous lady who takes joy, and her lovely daughter who literally is Joy.

 I've been musing onwhat it means to "be joyful" and how that applies to every situation in our messy, scatterbrained, absolutely-unperfect lives.

 I think I've come to discover living a life of joy doesn't mean being happy and a bright beam of sunshine every moment. It doesn't mean being "joyful" all the time....being one of those people that is unceasingly-through-the-roof-perky. It doesn't mean always having a smile plastered to your face and saying, "Oh, even though this is a very difficult time in my life right now/I'm really stressed out/feeling helpless/like I've taken on too much to handle, I'm so happy and joyful about this burden in my life."

 I think we can all honestly agree none of us have ever felt like that or thought that! But thankfully that's not what living joyfully is.

 It's seeking out the little moments in life that bring you joy.

It's celebrating the ordinary occasions that make life special.

It's lifting up the happy moments with a joyful heart.

It's devoting time and energy to your passions - the things that make your heart go pitter-patter. Because God would have never given us talents and passions if He didn't want us to pursue and take joy in them!

 It's accepting the trials, the overcast horizons, the tumultuous and stormy days, the rough and sticky patches, the puddles, the spilt milk, the overturned bowls, and the hopes dashed....it's accepting and acknowledging all these things.

And knowing that it will pass.

That the sun's hiding just behind the clouds. And just because everything's going to a-rather-hot-place-in-a-handbasket doesn't mean the world's over - even if it feels like it sometimes.

(Phil.4:4) "Rejoice in the LORD always. I say it again: rejoice!"

 God gave us an entire world filled with His amazing, fantastic, breathtaking Creation to enjoy. He wants us to live a life of joy! He understands, better than anyone, the weight of a Cross and what it feels like to fall down. But after the Cross came Easter Sunday - a day of sheer, overwhelming, breath-catching, dazzling joy. So why wouldn't He want us to live our lives like that?



 Even all of Creation is supposed to praise Him. (Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13) "Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; announce His salvation day after day...Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the seas and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them."


 I believe living joyfully is deciding to find and celebrate joy in your own life. Elevating the ordinary to the extra-ordinary.

Waking up early to enjoy the calm and magic of a sunrise.

Sipping a cup of coffee or tea or cocoa in the afternoon.

 Treating yourself to a piece of dark chocolate "just because."


Surprising a friend with a lunch date.

Delving into a good book.

Taking time for the mental and physical refreshment of a nap, even if you have dishes to do.

Making your favorite special dinner during the week.

 To me, living joyfully means living a life worth living. Not making a list and saying "These are the things I want to do someday" or thinking to myself, "When I get this and that done, then I'll have time to do the things I enjoy." Living joyfully means doing them now. :)

 One of the things in my life that gives me the greatest joy is writing. Whether it's writing in my many notebooks (I counted once and I have 27!), on the Note app on my phone, or here on this blog, it brings me joy. I especially love writing this blog and sharing with you. I wake up excited to write on here + share my heart. I love this. I love words. It brings me joy - which is why I want to write for a living!

 So I say to you, find that something you love. Find what makes you happy, what makes your heart flutter, what makes you do happy dance, what makes you feel complete. And do that thing often.

 Live a life joyfully by filling it with the things that bring YOU joy.

 When you take joy in your life  - when you live a life of joy by pursuing what brings you joy - you give glory to Him who made you. Because after all, He created us for Joy. :)

 What's one thing you absolutely love? Baking scones, putting together outfits, acting, creating a fabulous craft, dancing? If you could do anything - no matter how crazy or unlikely - for a living, what would it be? 


Me: novelist, cookbook author, cafe owner, head of my own online empire, professional traveler, frozen yogurt flavors tester, and actor for the Royal Shakespeare Company! (I like to dream big ;) 

8 comments:

  1. Reminds of the Word in book of Habakkuk, 3:17
    Even though the fig tree doesn't blossom
    And there is no fruit on the vines,
    though the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls,
    yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will exult in the God of my salvation.
    GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.

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  2. Awesome post, Grace.

    I find joy in dancing... I love to dance, and I love letting the music take me away. Likewise with singing. I find in quiet outdoor walks. I find joy in early mornings spent in Scripture. I find joy in the smiles of my family and friends.

    I love, love, LOVE that photo of you! So beautiful, creative, and JOYFUL! *smiles*

    God bless you!

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  3. Ruth, exactly...such a beautiful verse. I'm usually good at being joyful when things go smoothly, but it's on finding joy in the stressful bites of life that I need to improve!

    Thank you, Clare. I have to smile at reading your comment because it only strengths my belief how alike we are! I love, love your reasons - and you. It's so lovely to know such a kindred spirit. We really are sisters! ;) And thank you! That's my "little girl hiding in the flowers" picture. :) God bless you too!

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  4. Thanks a lot Raewyn! Somehow all you girls on the Catholic Young Woman are such inspiration to me! It feels awesome to have like- minded people around me which is so scarce in my country. I am happily and fully living my life as a Catholic Young Woman now! :)

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  5. Thanks for this post! It is both very comforting and inspirational. I really liked the part where you said "after the Cross came Easter Sunday." So true and yet sometimes we forget it!

    If I could do anything? Hum... I'd probably want to be a writer too or perhaps a museum curator! Have a lovely weekend!

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  6. Ruth, you are so welcome! That's great to know ACYW is doing it's job...it's such a lovely place for us Catholic girls to gather. I'm so glad Clare started it. :) That's what I love so much about the blogging community: we're all connected, even if we're states - or countries - apart! Kudos to you, dear. Keep it up! God is blessing and working through you!

    Paula, it's my pleasure. Thank YOU for reading! I love sharing these things that lay on my heart...it's always nice to know someone else feels the same way.
    Writer = fabulous occupation. But a museum curator would be fun also. Thanks, you too - hope you get some sun!

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  7. So encouraging! I've been told I smile all the time, and that I'm so optimistic. I think it's because recently I too have come to accept living in Joy. The rewards of our struggles are far greater than the struggles, than the clouds. All bad things will come to pass. I don't say that because I've never experienced heartbreak, trials, etc...because I certainly have, and have felt that maybe something was wrong with me and my life. But my faith in God was strong enough to get me through it. When I realized that, that God wanted me to live my life joyfully, I felt blessed beyond measure. How awesome is our God who WANTS us to be Joyful? :)

    xx,
    Liz B

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    Replies
    1. Persnackly, Liz-girl. I think we appreciate all the joyous moments more because of the not-so-joyful times in our life. And I agree about the smiling thing - you strike me as being very optimistic and hopeful! And you have a lovely smile. :)

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'lo!

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