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Thursday, October 1, 2015

92 To Go

I've been doing a joy challenge. A friend posted it on Facebook,, and curious, I went to see what it was all about. The challenge piqued my competitive nature, particularly since they claimed very few people were able to last the full 100 days. So challenge taken and I set off determined to post a picture every day for 100 days of what made me happy.

I thought it would be easy. It was at first, but today was particularly difficult. I laughed when friends made funny comments, but it was more of an instinctive reaction than a deep feeling of joy. I talked to God on the drive to and from a community mental health program I coordinate, but the emotion associated with our heart-to-heart time was expressed in tears. I came home, made a chocolate souffle in the microwave, and submitted it for day 8 of my 100 happy day challenge. 92 days to go. . .

I chose this challenge for a very specific reason. I've noticed that the past few months have been getting progressively darker and less joy-filled. I remember a time when I would anticipate life with excitement, when little things brought great joy, but now I tend to focus on the negative. This isn't how I want to live my life. I don't want to be known as the grumpy melancholy woman who can never think of a nice thing to say about anyone. I want that joy. I want joy which comes from the deepest part of my heart and is seen easily by others.

Interestingly, the challenge bases joy in circumstances or finds it in friends or tangible evidence. Yet at the same time, science has shown that joy is not found in possessions, per se, as much as it is experienced in the intangible such as spending time with people who love us. As a Christian, I am admonished to find my joy in God and to be joyful regardless of circumstances. I'm still figuring out the balance. I'm very curious, though, to see whether a deliberate attempt to see and seek the joy in my life will bring an awakened understanding of what it means to be joyful.

Henri Nouwen said, Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. Today, and for the next 92 days, I shall determine to choose joy.

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