Finding joy in hard seasons of life is pretty hard to do, isn’t it? And most of us use the fact that “it’s a hard season” as our legit reason not to look that hard for it, let alone find it. What about when life is running smoothly? Are you actively pursuing joy then? Or like many of us, do you neglect this pursuit because you feel as though it’s selfish or unnecessary to do so? What do you think? Is the pursuit of joy just too self-centered to make it a priority? Let’s chat.
What IS “joy” anyway?
Joy is so much easier to define when you’re feeling it, isn’t it?
I took this photo of “Joy” written in the sand while I was on the beach. Without a doubt, the ocean is my “Happy Place.” Between the warm sun, the Playdough-like sand, rolling turquoise waves, and a cool breeze, how could I not feel “joy”?
But what about all the other times when circumstances are not conducive to any good feelings whatsoever? Or when things are just “normal” – neither good nor bad? And further, what is “joy”? Is it different than happiness?
Here are just a few meanings I uncovered in my search to define “joy”:
- The dictionary calls it an emotion: /joi/ noun. a feeling of great pleasure and happiness; delight; the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.
- In the Bible, the writer refers to joy as coming from our Creator and as a source of strength.
- Theologians summarize that joy is a state of mind, an attitude, an orientation of the heart. It’s a settled state of contentment, confidence, and hope.
- C.S. Lewis, has this to say about Joy: “. . . Anyone who has experienced it will want it again… I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world.”
- Although philosophers like Plato & Aristotle have a lot to say about happiness, they don’t appear to view joy as an entirely separate idea from happiness.
Still, based on their life experiences, many others believe that joy is larger and more robust than happiness. Happiness is a feeling that changes with our circumstances and is, therefore, short-lived.
Are you in pursuit of joy?
Regardless of how you think and feel about joy, it’s a compelling outcome.
It’s easy to observe that pursuing it, finding it, and/or keeping it requires you to make positive choices. In other words, it’s a positive focus. And because we’ve been neurologically and spiritually designed to go where we’re focused . . .
WHY NOT PURSUE JOY?
Isn’t joy the emotional payback (or the motivation) we need to keep our focus, our beliefs, and our choices positive?
The short answer is “YES!”
According to Dr. Ray Lincoln, “To be the Real You, the person you were created to be, you must find and keep the motivation of joy necessary to make good choices.”
Joy is that kind of motivation. It is joy and its close cousins of happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction that capture your attention and keep you aiming to become all you were meant to become.
You’ve probably heard this little gem of a question by now: “Does this spark joy?” It’s a question that the brilliant and adorable author Marie Kondo asks people to use as a test to decide on keeping a possession or giving it away.
It works! It’s a positive focus, aimed at a positive outcome.
What’s more, it’s a great way to then deal with the negative emotion of guilt that keeps people from parting ways with their “stuff” and decluttering both their physical space and mental space.
Finding what sparks joy is a great way to declutter your priorities and the ways you spend your time as well. If you’ve been tracking with this blog or have learned about the life-changing principles behind Your InnerKinetics®, you’ll know that using your inner strengths (the innate set of gifts that belong to you because of your InnerKinetics) creates the same positive emotions of joy, fulfillment, and happiness.
So, ask yourself, “How can I spark joy in this area of my life using my God-given inner strengths?”
Whether it’s a project, a task or an event that you’re not all that excited about . . . how can you spark joy?
In other words, how can I use my inner strengths in this area and spark the very emotional fuel I need to be the Real me?
Back to the Original Question . . .
Should the pursuit of joy be a priority? I say, “YES! Pursuing joy must be a priority if I’m to have a positive focus and the motivation that being the Real me produces.
If you agree and want to learn more on sparking joy in areas of your life that need a wakeup call, start here:
- Identify your InnerKinetics (a.k.a. inner design).
- Discover the motivations your inner design naturally possesses that can make you successful. INNERKINETICS – Your Blueprint to Excellence and Happiness
- Keep your positive focus on the right use of your inner strengths and spark contagious Joy!
“A people that can know insecurity and still feel joy is one that can never be defeated, for its spirit can never be broken nor its hope destroyed.” ~ Rabbi J. Sacks