‘With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.’ (Eleanor Roosevelt)
April seems to be one of those months, that has lasted about five months. However, it is surprising to be at the end of it. While my mindset has not been the most positive this month; I have realised that only I have the power to change that. This month I have been choosing to find joy. Joy does not have to be found in the big accomplishments; joy can be found even in the simplicity of life. I am learning that in choosing to find joy, that it pushes me forwards. That I can see purpose and life even in the most mundane days. As I wrap up April, I share with you how I choose to find joy.
One of the patterns I constantly fall into, is seeking the approval of others. How quickly that frustrates me and deflates me. When I choose to find my worth in anyone, whether I am super close to them or not, in some way I will be disappointed or disappoint them. We are all human at the end of the day, prone to mistakes and misunderstandings. I have been learning to find my joy in who I have been made to be, with all my mistakes and limitations. I need to learn to be okay when people do not receive me in the way I thought they would. I need to learn that my joy does not come from being accepted but accepting who I am. It is only I, who can live the life I have been given. I won’t be finding any joy in trying to live up to other people’s expectations. I choose to find my joy in who I have been made to be. I will learn to serve people from knowing who I am and knowing what I have to offer.
Writing is a practice I have found a lot of joy in, over the past few years. While writing is a constant learning process; I am thankful for the joy found in being able to put together blogs. I have my own little blog page, which grows slowly but wonderfully in followers. I am thankful to have a creative outlet, where I am free to write about Jesus and life in general. I find that joy encounters me in my writing as new revelations are revealed through the word of God. There is joy, in knowing that there is always something new to learn or a new perspective on which to look on life. Writing does not come easily to me, it is something I push myself to do each week. There is a blessing in the perseverance.
If you know me, then you know I will happily walk for hours. I love having music in, walking nowhere in particular, and enjoying the journey. Due to the restrictions, there is a limitation to the journey. I noticed that I was getting lazy the past month, taking for granted that I could still go and walk outside, choosing to remain inside. I noticed how it affected me negatively. My mindset was focused more negatively, and I was tired. For the past few days, I have been pushing myself out the door as soon as I wake up. Before anything can distract me, I am outside in the fresh air and it feels so good. I live in a residential area, but I have been awed at how beautiful people’s front gardens are. They take time to care and plant these beautiful flowers and present them in wonderful patterns. Even when walking in the rain, the flowers do not lose their vibrancy and they stand tall in how they have been created to be. I choose to find joy early in the morning and take that with me throughout the day.
I have been finding with the nice weather, to take more opportunities to sit in the garden. Whether it be in conversation with someone, writing, or reading. For sure, my pale skin would not show any sort of tan but the sun on my skin feels good. It is learning to adapt to what is around, acknowledging that things are not the same but there is still life to live.
Finding joy in disconnecting, has been a new practice that I have implemented this month. I have been learning to turn off the internet on my phone by 10 each night. Then not turning it on until I have done something productive in the morning, whether it be my quiet time or going for a walk. I wanted to implement a more peaceful and simpler start to the morning. I like dealing with notifications when I am ready and not to have them blaring at me in the morning. It is helping me to be more intentional with my phone and helped me sleep better. Joy has been found in the benefits.
I am finding that my quiet time is where I find joy. When I have been struggling, to come before the Lord even just to rest gives me a great amount of peace. This month I have struggled a lot with my emotions and my thoughts. To come before the Lord and just to seek his word, even if it has no application to the situation, helps to give wisdom and insight. I have been reading a lot of the Old Testament this month, especially 1 and 2 Kings. It was so interesting and devastating to see the downfall of the Kings and how that impacted on the Israelites. In following through with these accounts, it was a time in which I got to take my mind off what was concerning me. Normally, I would follow a few chapters with a chapter from Proverbs. It was in proverbs, that I was learning to discern if I was trusting in my own wisdom or, was I trusting in the Lord. To trust myself would only lead to folly and brokenness. To trust in the Lord, leads to wisdom which leads to choices that will only ever bring life. I can tell you, that I was trusting mostly in myself. Attempting to fight my own battles and trust in my own wisdom. ‘Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.’, (Proverbs 28v26). If ever you need a little humility, the word of God will give it to you. That is not to shame you but to grow you and lead you away from the ways that will only lead to greater sin and unhappiness. I am choosing to find joy; that the Lord does not keep me in a broken and stale place but instructs me with wisdom to move forwards.
Choosing joy is a daily choice and it is not about ignoring the situation in front of me. Instead it is choosing to not allow the situation to overwhelm me. To realise that everything is momentary. I can allow things to control me or I can take control. I hope and pray for better days and I make plans for the future. At the moment, joy can only be found in the present. I make do with what is in front of me and I am trying to improve myself in this period of slowness. I find joy in the small things such as music, reading, coffee, dancing, and conversation. Knowing that these all make memories and pour joy into a life that is worth enjoying.
Perspective matters at a time like, you get to choose how you want to view life. Be determined and confident, in who you have been called to be. Let us go into May with more motivation and drive. May our faith keep moving us forward and our trust be found fully in the Lord. You are more determined than you think you. 🙂
God bless, Victoria