In my study on JOY over the past several years, I keep reading that having JOY is a conscious choice we must make. Yes, God gives us JOY in Him, but when we battle depression or when we are simply battling, experiencing His joy is next to impossible. We find ourselves nesting in our sadness, unable to go beyond the hurt: Job 6:10-11 (NLT), "At least I can take comfort in this:Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One. 11 But I don’t have the strength to endure. I have nothing to live for."
We still love our Lord and Savior, but we simply "don't have the strength" to go on. Like Job, we feel that we "have nothing [left] to live for."
It is in these moments when JOY is as hidden as the end of a rainbow. We long for JOY--to be released from our deep sadness, but it wraps tight around us with the strength of gravity. We are powerless against it.
I have been in such a state for longer than I care to admit. Suffice it to say that 10 years is a low estimate.
As God has been healing me over the past year or so, though, I have felt the power of the sadness lessen more and more. I purposefully began to CHOOSE happiness--JOY. I began by keeping a Gratitude list in a little red moleskin journal that I carry in my purse with me. Anytime I thought of something I was grateful for, I wrote it down in my little red book. It was not easy as I often even forgot that I had that little red book. After a while, though, I found myself writing in it more and more. I was finding it easier and easier to write down things I was grateful for.
I found an online group called "The 30-Day Pollyanna Plan." The woman who operated that Facebook group challenged the participants to post something she (or he) was GLAD about each day for 30 days (or longer). I did that consistently for 30 days. While I no longer post specifically to her group, I continue to keep up with the posts of the group.
I continued to post, on my own, things I was GLAD about for the next year or so. Something whenever I thought of it. Sometimes it was one thing. Other times it was several things.
From there, I moved to writing 5 things positive about my day--every day. I posted most of those on Facebook for several months. I had made a very conscious decision to be more positive at work. I was finding that I was doing an awful lot of complaining, but not much was changing. I made a CHOICE to accept what was and to begin being positive whether I liked what was--or not. I called it #ThePollyAnnaPlan.
As 2015 came to a close, I wanted to change things up a little bit, so I went back to writing one positive every day. I decided to ask the question, "What brings me JOY?" And to answer that every day--on Facebook. I call this one #ThePollyAnnaJOYPlan.
Being positive or finding something to be Joy-full about every single day is NOT easy. Even after doing such things for a full year and then some, I still have days when I just do not FEEL Joy-full, no matter what I do or say. But I have made a CHOICE to be positive and to be JOY-full--regardless. As the days pass, I am feeling the difference--in myself, in my interactions with others around me, with my responses to difficult situations, buy even more wonderful are the differences I'm seeing in those I interact with daily.
God is using my CHOICE to make the difference. I pray that I continue to be a light for Him, showering those around me the JOY only He can give.
Shen, Jean. "Series 1: Healing of Wounds of the Bride and Growing Intimacy with the Lord." Invitation to His Garden. Prophetic Art. Web. 6 Sept. 2014. <http://www.jbrushwork.com/html/paintings.html>.