Monday, March 4, 2013

I traded my diamond for Joy

Over the summer I was browsing on the board walk when I found this unique ring that had "JOY" engraved on the band.  The word stuck with me because it was something I had been hearing a lot about lately, but wasn't feeling.  It's no secret that this last year has been one of the most difficult for me in my personal life.  My feelings about living far from family and childhood friends changed from un-bothersome to heart breaking and I have struggled to find my footing in my life as a working mom.   In my marriage, this is definitely a time of turmoil and in a journey of hills and valleys, this is a deep valley. 

I am a big believer in the fact that you make your own happiness.  It's not found in money, or possessions.  I can't make it appear with a new job or a good nights sleep.  I can't buy it or borrow it from someone else.  It won't come when I finish a to-do list or be lurking under a layer of dust to clean.  I won't stumble upon it on the most beautiful beach or find it in a box of tasty cakes.  Trust me, I have looked both places.   People can surely add to your happiness (I know my daughter has grown mine 10 fold!) but you must have some of your own to build on first.  And that is where I have been failing.  My mother told me, you have to find joy in the situation; its the only thing you can control.

My struggles come from the ease in which I can list the problems in my life.  It hit me with some sort of shock this week that I have been behaving down right unhappy.  I can tell you why, but I couldn't tell you how to fix it.  I could list my issues, reasons to be mad, sad, lonely and discouraged.  I could focus on the negatives all day long, and honestly I had been.  I was not seeking joy.  I was not even thinking about it.  That JOY ring that I bought this summer had been misplaced, and I thought it gone before I even had a chance to wear it.  Then my daughter discovered it in my travel tote over the weekend, surprising me that it has not been lost after all. 

This week I slipped off my diamond, and replaced it with the joy ring.  I wanted to get into the habit of thinking about joy and this was a great reminder for me to do just that each day.  It wasn't about forgetting my marriage or my vows, those remain important to me, but right now my priority was to change my daily outlook.  I don't want to be unhappy anymore.  I don't want to be angry.  I want to be joyful.  Even in my current situation.  After all I can't change a lot about my life right now, and as difficult as it is to let go of that control, I am really going to make the effort to give it up to faith and trust God's plan.  A joyful plan.

So instead of listing my problems, I am going to list my joys.
I have a healthy, happy daughter who is the light of my life.
I have a supportive family, that even from thousand of miles away loves me.
I have a savings account with a balance and I can pay my bills each month.
I have a job I find rewarding and I know I make a difference in students' lives.
I have a church in which I have grown friendships and connections.
I have a loving God who will never abandon me, even when I struggle and fail.
I have a group of friends that has accepted and strengthened me, who share my struggles and work through them with me. 
I have a home, health insurance, running water, and food everyday.  Things I often take for granted.

I do have joy here, I just have to see it.  I have to seek it.  So despite all my reasons for feeling anything but joy, I am putting them aside and choosing to find happiness right where I am.  Today, its all about joy. 


  1. That's awesome! Thinking of you and remembering to be joyful and grateful myself. Have a good day! - Rachelle