At the beginning of the year I chose a word: joy. But I never got around to writing a post explaining what this meant to me. That however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Because my understanding of joy has grown and expanded and I can now write a better post than I would have been able to 6 weeks ago.
At new year’s (which was so long ago now) I was introduced to the concept of a word for the year. It was a neat idea, but that’s all it was. I didn’t have a word. Several days later I started thinking about how I always ask God to grant me peace. Last semester it was my constant prayer. Here’s the thing: when I prayed for peace what I meant was a lack of stress and worries. In other words: God, please solve all my problems.
The things is problems aren’t meant simply for stressing me out. Difficult situations challenge us and form us into the people we will become. Last week I heard a great homily at daily Mass about how we should praise God more and yes, even praise Him for our struggles. Because struggles help us grow. They make us better.
The peace I was praying for was freedom from worries and stress. I realized, however, that even Jesus had stuff to deal with (yeah, people kind of wanted to kill Him). Thoughts about praying for peace and the reality that the prayers I was making for peace (as I understood it) were selfish and foolish, were bumping around in my mind. Then the word joy came to mind.
JOY–this has become my motto for the year. My word. My guide.
Jesus is my joy. I don’t need a stress-free life to be happy. I just need to rest in Him–actually rest.
With joy, I’ve started caring less about little things. I’m still partly melancholic. Perfectionism is in my nature. But I’m trying to be optimistic and not be bogged down by negativity or little things. It’s a work in progress.
This word has also propelled me to greater trust in God. In Him I find my joy. By trusting in His plan, I have no cause for worry. He will guide me. He will be there. With Him, trivial things don’t matter. There is no need to be perfect, only to try. And that is freeing. And being free is joyful.
In the end, that’s what I’ve come to realize joy is for me: trusting in God. And if I trust in Him my life and my attitude are just so much better. I feel joy. I live joy.
This is the first post in the 7 posts in 7 days challenge I’m doing hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary.