Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sunshine and Joy

Only one more week till the Dirty Chocolate Giveaway deadline. Of course, if no one enters that means I get to eat all the chocolate myself. Hmmm, on second thought, don't enter =)

I'm sure at least a few of you have noticed that I've been in a kind of continually up and down funk this winter. This seems to be a wintertime standard for me. I had all these great plans for preventing it this year with a theme on sunshine. But then fall was so sunny and lovely that I let my guard down and before I new it I was in such a funk that I didn't even care about my lofty plans to create sunshine. However, the past few days the sun has come out and I can feel the difference. It is like liquid energy is being absorbed by my skin. I suddenly want to get dressed and take the kids to the park. I want to call old friends and reconnect with humanity. It is a lovely feeling. Now I'm really wishing I had kept up my intended sunshine theme through the winter. I think it would have done me a lot of good. But, there are still a number of weeks before spring is fully upon us so I think I will take up the sunshine theme until then, just in case.

Here is a lovely talk about happiness that I really needed to hear:

One of the most popular courses taught at Harvard University is a class called “Positive Psychology.” In essence, the professor teaches how to find joy in living. One semester more than 800 students enrolled. What does it say about our society that we must teach “finding joy” at the highest levels of academia?

Many myths and misconceptions swirl about how and where to find joy. For so many, it is elusive. Some think that joy comes from money or material possessions, so they conclude that adding more of them will surely bring increased joy. Or we may think we can only have joy if our relationships are always stable and our careers are always successful.

But real joy does not depend on our social status or our bank account, and it can even be found in times of turmoil and disappointment. Joy springs from our attitude and outlook. It comes from simple gestures, like making time for family members or friends, clearing up a misunderstanding, expressing gratitude for the efforts of others, celebrating their successes, or taking time to listen to their worries. (Notice how all these have to do with doing things for others? Looking beyond ourselves? A friend, who is clinically depressed, once told me that depression is a very selfish disease and I think she is right. Sorry, just had to interject there.)

This kind of joy is available not only during times of peace, when all is going well, but also when we face challenges, heartache, or pain. In fact, that’s when joy does its greatest service—it brings balance and peace to the harshness and stresses of everyday living. It lifts our sights and settles our souls.

Ask yourself where you find joy, and then diligently look for it there. If, at the end of the day, we remember and prize each moment of real joy, we will learn for ourselves the truth of what the Psalmist promised: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
-Tomorrow I will tell you about where I went to find joy and where I will be going to find it in the next few days and in the next few years.


An Ordinary Mom said...

Joy and peace really aren't circumstantial, they have to come from within.

Thanks for sharing your sunshine with me today!

Kristiana said...

That was a good message. I can attest that joy can be found even in the midst of great trial, look at my parents. Though I'll admit I've had some very black days recently where I've had a very hard time remembering this. The Gospel brings so much joy though.

I wish it was sunny here. We're having awful smog and hazy days this week. Thankfully though, it's been the first time this winter.

Tama said...

I am not usually subject to the winter blues, but this winter has been so snowy and wet and dark and full of trials that I CAN'T WAIT FOR SUN AND SPRING!!

Hope you have a sunny, beautiful weekend!

Misty said...

Shine on sister. My husband's doctor tells him it's hard to be/stayed depressed if you're out doing..... (easier said then done, but I agree, even on the days I drag my husband along).

Michal said...

thanks for sharing this post. we so often seek joy in all the wrong places. i am grateful to the Lord for granting me peace and joy in the midst of trials and sorrows. following His example of service and love can only bring joy.