by Melisssa Mowat
When was the last time a good friend asked you: “How are you?” And you said,
Even though you weren’t?
Let’s be honest in our sorrows. Joy is not only found in moments of profound “happiness” and mountain-high triumphs. Joy can be found in a release of tears…Joy can be found in an angry shout… Joy can be found in placing disappointment into a fire pit and watching it burn! True joy, the ever-flowing, never-ending kind: comes from allowing yourself to be loved in every emotion, in every situation. It is allowing love to come in to speak truth to the lies we are tempted to believe. It is allowing love to comfort, protect: It is allowing love to persevere and let it carry you through your darkest days and wildest storms. True joy comes from knowing who you are and being known and knowing LOVE. Life is not just an Instagram shot of your greatest day or best moment. It is about looking in the mirror and saying “It is well with my soul” and being okay with the messy bits.
Newsflash: Joy can get messy.
Here’s just ONE exercise to try: The next time you are depressed or struggling through a hard time, make a list of every thing you have to be thankful for. Start with super small, “stupid” things, like oxygen. Say, “I’m thankful for the air in my lungs. I’m thankful for shoes. I’m thankful that I have clean drinking water…” Escalate your thankful list to bigger, more personal things: “I’m thankful that I was able to have a loving dad for the first 15 years of my life and that I got to spend the time that I had with him.” Or, “I’m thankful that my best friend was able to come to my concert when I had my first solo.” Get more specific as you go, and have fun! “I’m thankful for my red shoes with the strappy ankles and cute little bow. I feel pretty when I wear them.” Measure how much joy you feel after you have made this list. Has your problem gone away? Maybe not. But you have centered your heart on the joy that you have always have access to.
This is just one exercise for accessing joy. I am confident that there are so many more access points for joy. Thankfulness is just one of my favorites. Having a heart of thanksgiving is a way of recycling love.