I have always had a weakness for journals. Ever since I was a little girl, I would always want a new, pretty journal with smooth pages to write my thoughts, plans, and dreams in. To this day, I can't let a good journal just pass me up! Last week, I found this journal while perusing at Barnes and Nobles and just had to buy it...
The previous Sunday, our topic during our Sunday School class was how we find joy in our lives, whether it is from time with family, friends, work, or even how we enjoy and find joy in our relationship with God. I loved talking about this with the rest of our Sunday School class, and that conversation got me thinking about joy and happiness when I purchased this journal. To me, happiness is something that is momentary and can easily be taken away from you as well as given to you depending on the people, circumstances, or events going on in your life. But joy is a much more difficult concept to grapple with for me. Joy is something that can only come from the Lord, regardless of people, events, or even myself. I know that my only source of joy is from the Lord, which makes it different than just mere happiness. I'm not saying happiness is a bad thing; not at all! I love being happy and being surrounded by people and things that make me happy. However, these things come and go. But joy is something that can be and should be felt every day, no matter what the circumstances, if we stay tuned in to what God has for us.
Psalm 118:24 says "This is the day that the Lord has made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it." I love this verse because it doesn't say "I feel like rejoicing" or "I'll think about rejoicing." This verse implies that, no matter what your day brings, it is the Lord's day and we will rejoice; it will be a conscious effort, and we will decide to find our joy in the Lord. I have to confess, I am a very emotionally-driven person and cannot be fake for the life of me. I have a hard time choosing joy over so many of the other emotions that compete for my attention. However, I have to remember that being joyful in all circumstances does not mean pasting a smile on your face and ignoring the troubles life can and will bring! It means knowing Who's hands your life is in. When I remember that God is the one who holds me in His hands and He is the one taking care of me, this fills me with sincere and genuine joy because I realize...what more could I possibly want!
With that being said, this journal I bought still made me brainstorm about things that make me happy. Sometimes, I feel like we as people have a fear of being happy. We are afraid that if everything is going well, something is bound to go wrong. However, I came to the recent conclusion that bad things are going to happen whether we are happy and things are going well, or whether life is miserable to begin with. I decided that I'd much rather ENJOY life and take part in the things that make me happy rather than mope and decide that I might as well not be happy since bad things will happen anyway. Boy, am I glad I came to this decision! I made a short list in my new pretty journal about the different things that bring me happiness, and I am going to strive to at least do some of these things every day. I know life is busy, tiresome, and filled with a million to do lists already. However, I also know that God gave us life and wants us to enjoy it to the full. He wants us to glorify Him with our gifts and talents and not hide under a rock and refuse to show the world how great our God is. Here is my happiness list, and I hope this encourages you to make one as well and strive to at least do a few things on that list every day! :)
What makes me happy?
1.) Jesus. Spending time with the Lord and sharing what I've learned about Him with other people.
2.) Spending time with the people in my life (family, boyfriend, friends, etc).
3.) Running and worshiping the Lord during this time.
5.) Fellowship, being in Sunday school and church
6.) Taking care of my body/eating healthy and nutritious foods
7.) Art, painting, and singing
8.) Reading on the beach!
10.) Blogging, writing, and sharing!