I love that our theme for November and December is Joy to the World! With all that is going on globally I need the reminder that Joy does exist! And I need to actually PRACTICE finding joy in my daily life. Sometimes it’s hard to descibe how we find Joy. So it helps to think of the opposite of Joy.
I think it also helps to identify what takes away our joy. What things pop right into your head when I ask “What steals your joy?” For me it’s things like traffic, Too Much Noise, Too Much TV especially news, lack of sleep, and Paper work!
So for Advent I need to plan ways to avoid these things. And to notice when these and other things are stealing my joy! What are your Joy Stealers? And How can you and I plan ways to avoid JOY stealers this holiday season?
Step 1: Identify your Joy Stealers. Make a list!
Step 2: Make a plan and choose to lose the Joy Stealing actions and activities in the days ahead!
Step 3: Identify what brings you Joy and start practicing these things!
Step 4: Start watching for Joy! Notice when Joy happens! Document JOY sightings!
Where do you find Joy? What things naturally bring JOY to you?
I find JOY in hanging out with children. Their curiosity and sense of wonder remind me that I need to be more curious and more wonder seeking! I spent some time in a third grade classroom last week, and even though it was late afternoon, they were still curious and still saw things I wouldn’t normally see. We were talking about why the trees lose their leaves in the fall and about photosynthesis and one boy noticed that a leaf seemed to be hanging off the tree all on it’s own, no branch in site! It was hanging by a spider web thread being gently blown by the wind. That’s the gift of noticing! Finding joy in the small things and taking time to notice them!
Which leads me to a second way I find JOY, being out in Nature. What things in Nature bring you JOY? Watching Sunsets are one of my favorite joy sources! The fall colors bring me joy too. And I absolutely love snow! Maybe watching a squirrel climb a tree or your cat investigate your briefcase or shopping bag can bring you joy and make you smile. Maybe plan some out door adventure or cook some s’mores over a firepit. Take time to notice the beauty of Creation and take time to be thankful.
If you have children at home or friends with kids, take time to ask them what makes them smile and this can help you catch Joy too! Volunteer in a classroom or take a walk with a child and notice what they notice, like the leaves, the bugs, the faces and shapes in the clouds.
Maybe you find joy when you take time to create something. It could be baking something or making something with your hands. Perhaps you could choose to turn off the TV or step away from the computer or phone and make or do something that brings you joy. Dust off your bicycle or get your sled ready for that first snow fall. Shoot hoops, Swing on a swing, plant something. Make a new play list with songs that bring joy to your heart and a smile to your face and listen to them regularly. Share that play list with a friend to pass along the JOY! I love baking chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin muffins from scratch. The process of baking is joyfilled. And giving them to my neighbors adds to that joy.
What about you? What are your Joy Sightings? As a practice for Advent take time to Notice the things that bring a smile to your face. Document Joy Sightings! Write them down or take a pic with your phone to help you remember. We could even start a hashtag for Advent and share these joy filled things with each other to help spread the JOY to the world.
Please join me in Joy and #Joysighting this Advent!