Continuing with bearing fruit, next up is joy. Some people think that joy is happiness. While joy and happiness are closely related, my understanding is that happiness is a result of joy. I heard someone say that happiness is a result of something happening but joy is a choice, an attitude, and a way of life. It comes from deep within. Another person tweeted that "happiness is like rising bubbles -- delightful and inevitably fleeting. Joy is the oxygen -- ever present".
Ok, enough of the mumbo jumbo. How do you have (or find) joy? For starters, you have to look in the right places. Here are few ways I encourage you to find joy:
Count your blessings. Although everything may not be perfect in your life, make a list of things what you are grateful for and keep in mind, it could be worse.
Listen to some inspirational music. Music has a lot to do with how you feel deep inside.
Enjoy nature and get some sun! Do you know sun has Vitamin D?
Pray daily. I find great joy in my relationship with God. Try it.
Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins-"feel good" chemicals in your brain.
Volunteer and do for others. There is great joy in helping others. Trust me!
Get plenty of rest. Fatigue has a major part in how you feel about certain things.
Make good decisions. When you make bad decisions, it's usually hard to have joy as a result.
Laugh and have a sense of humor! Find something that makes you laugh and have at it (keep it clean, safe, and don't hurt anyone!).
These are just a few things that can help you have joy. I know that some of you reading this post may be having a tough time finding joy at this place in your life. If that's the case, I want to take a moment to let you know that tough times aren't permanent. If you're going through a tough time, hang in there. I took this picture below a few weeks ago as I flew over Seattle, Washington. At the top, you can see the overcast and cloudy sky that looks pretty depressing. On the other hand, the bottom picture shows a sunny, blue sky above the clouds, moments later. This is a reminder that just above the clouds, the sun is always shining. Again, hang in there. The sun will shine again in your life.
For those of you that don't have any sob stories and are on cloud nine (pun intended), spread your joy to others. Find a way to bring a sense of joy into their lives and they'll thank you for it.
Written 3/2/2014 by John Weaver