Fight for Joy

Fight for Joy

 

Some days I wake up and I just feel unhappy.  Discontent.  Frustrated.  Nit-picky.

Those are the days when criticism drips so easily from my tongue and complaining becomes my native language.  Those are the days when my temper rises and exhaustion trumps self-control.

Those are the days when I have to make a concentrated effort— a deliberate choice— to not slip down into the bottomless pit of negativity and self-centeredness.

Those are the days when I have to pull out my journal and grab a pen or open up the file called “Gratitude” in the Evernote app on my phone and start typing.  I must literally list out the things for which I am grateful.  In that moment, I have to choose to stop my negative mind-speak and walk a different path.

I start listing out whatever brings me joy in that very moment. 

Yesterday, as I was driving, I had to remind myself that, though intensely frustrated that I wasn’t doing what I had originally planned and been looking forward to, at least I was grateful to be wearing comfy workout pants.  And although I had originally hoped my day was going to be spent a different way, at least I was grateful that I had shoes that fit.  And a vehicle that worked.  And food in my belly.  And I was grateful for the blue sky.  And that I had a bottle of water nearby.  And for the raspy voice of my little three-year-old who, though ridiculously adorable, tends to drive me batty with his constant energy and nonstop chatter.  And I was grateful that I woke up with breath in my lungs.  And that my children were healthy.

It may not seem like much, but that simple listing of blessings, that simple act of tuning into my present and noticing those “normal” gifts, helped give me a little space to breathe.  It helped give me a little boost out of the doldrums.  It helped kickstart my attitude in a better direction.

space to breathe

And today, as I felt the discontent grappling its way into my consciousness yet again, I paused to grab that list again and jotted this down:

Today I am grateful for:

  • Waking up before everyone and escaping to the hills
  • Being courageous enough to ask my husband for the gift of an early morning hike
  • The feeling of tall weeds brushing past my fingertips as I walked along the path in the hills
  • My recent time spent with a dear friend I hadn’t seen in a few years
  • The blessing of being able to encourage a friend through a simple text message yesterday
  • My community of friends and how life-giving they are
  • The sound of birds tweeting and chirping in the trees nearby
  • The “rainbow sherbet sunrise” I was able to witness this morning
  • The moon still hanging in the bright blue sky
  • A mutually-transparent conversation with a new friend
  • This truth:

Rise again

 

That’s one of the main ways I manage my crappy attitude, y’all.  Super simple—yet that’s how I fight for joy in my own life when the negative insurgency of life is pounding at my door.  That is how I try to make space for God to get a word in edgewise when all I’m hearing, loud and clear, are messages of self-pity, pessimism, and defeat.

It works for me.  Most of the time, this simple habit is enough to at least rattle my brain and give me a modicum of new perspective.

What about you?  What spiritual practices or habits do you employ to help keep your mind and attitude on a healthier, more positive path?  How does God get your attention again?

I would love to hear from you.  Please share your journey in the comment section below.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Dorris Riccomi

    A few years ago as I was driving to work with a grumpy attitude there was a suggestion from the voice on the radio to simply ask God, “Lord I need you to fill me with your joy,” and then just be still and allow yourself to start thinking and feeling differently as God provides the joy you asked him for. I tried it and after a few minutes I actually felt a smile and a chuckle escape from my mouth. Now I try to practice this as often as I can.

    • Thank you for sharing that! I’m glad that helps you! ?

  2. Thea Trefethen

    I’m sorry yesterday was hard for you Kristi. I would have never guessed. I hope you were able to get out and enjoy a nice hike this morning? Doing so always reminds me of how blessed I am to be physically capable.
    I hope today shaped up better.

    • Oh, you are such a sweetheart!! Yesterday was wonderful, my dear dear friend! I just needed an attitude adjustment first thing in the morning, that’s all. (I’ve been in nonstop mommy-mode for days upon days now and I was just reeeeeally ready for a break from my munchkin-man.) But hubby’s work cooperated so I could grab a hike the next morning at sunrise and then my dad ended up offering to watch my little guy for several hours so I ended up with a whole school day to myself– a refreshing break for me!!! (I realized a few years ago that I’m much more introverted than I ever knew, so now I’m much more intentional about setting aside time to “detox” from my kids, etc.) I am BEYOND GRATEFUL that both my dad and my hubby help support my need for regular doses of solitude and/or one-on-one times with girlfriends (like you!). ? I love you to pieces, girl, and I wouldn’t trade my day with you for anything! Sooo glad we got to hang. ?❤️ What a blessing you are in my life!

  3. Kristi,
    Such a good post and one I needed. I like your lists and will have to try this. I find reading some scripture about God’s awesomeness (like a Psalm or two) helps me put things back into perspective. And listening to some praise music. It’s hard to imagine someone like the apostle Paul becoming grumpy and negative isn’t it? But being human, I’m sure he did at times. And yet he tells us in 1st Thessalonians 5:17 “…in everything give thanks…”
    Which is what you’ve been doing with your lists. Thanks for sharing this with us. I intend to start that today. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you were encouraged today! Thank you for sharing a few more methods that help you! I love the Psalms too; they often feel like a big fat “me too” for me– which is always reassuring to me! 🙂 I always appreciate your encouragement, Judy!

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