In Search of Joy

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

Join me in welcoming my first guest blogger! Michelle is not only my younger sister, but the realist to my dreamer, the anchor to my compass, the one with the tall, tan, smart genes. ūüėČ Enjoy!

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I recently read¬†a book by Shauna Niequist called “Cold Tangerines”. ¬†I finished the book about a week ago and wrote down a¬†quote that stuck out to me. It has been on repeat in my mind ever since:

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”

It is so easy to read and say “Yes, same!”

But sometimes life doesn’t go as you planned or things happen that don’t make sense at the time. And it is easy to get down and frustrated at life.¬†I get it. I have been there plenty of times and will probably find myself there sometime tomorrow. But instead of choosing to be annoyed or angry I am¬†trying¬†this new thing of finding joy in all things.

Here are some of the reasons I am inspired to be doing this:

People need you.

They need your genuine smile and honest personality. Not a version you put on to just get through the next thing in your day. But the real, emotional, logical, creative, outgoing, caring, smart, personable, or whatever other words that you feel describe you, version of you. We all have the ability to impact those around us.

Life is short.

So incredibly short. If we are lucky we get a decent 65+ years. A close family friend, and one of the most joyful people I know, had her life cut short almost exactly two years ago and I can’t help but think of her in tough situations. She will always be like a sister to me and inspire me to continue this journey of finding joy. And for that reason I don’t want to waste another minute not being joyful.

There is so much good out there.

Sometimes, it is so hard to see! But, when you can’t see any in front of where you’re standing, take a step outside. Go to the beach, the mountains, the city, or anywhere where you can sit atop a rock or hill and look at all that is in front of you. It is amazing how you can see the good in people, in nature, and in communities when you take a step back and put things in perspective.

My family is probably laughing at me right about now because I am one of the most logical and somewhat pessimistic (I call it realism, they call it pessimism. Same thing, right?!) people you will meet. I overanalyze things and then I overanalyze my over-analyzation. You will find me picking apart every little thing trying to make sense of it. I used to absolutely hate this part of me and it would be a downwards cycle of negative talk. Since I am trying this new thing of being positive, I have been trying to see the joy. I learned that this aspect of my personality has made me a very inquisitive person. I love asking questions and getting to know more about anything and everything. Anyone who has been on a road trip or watched a TED Talk with me or heard any of my fun facts will understand this.

Learning to love the parts of me that I once hated has been a difficult journey.

But I encourage everyone to step back and look at one part they don’t love¬†about themselves. Honestly ask yourself why you think this way. And then try to change that perspective and find the joy in what makes you unique.

If I had to rewrite the quote from the beginning based on the joys in my life it would go something like this:

I want a life full of spontaneity and adventure. The kind that makes you cancel your plans and just get in a car and go. I want sunrises in the mountains and to capture the smell of fresh pine trees in a bottle. I want sunsets on the beach and the sand beneath my feet. I want star therapy where only the deepest of conversations are¬†found. I want the kind of laughs that make you cry and pictures that capture exact memories that make me thankful for this life. I want to sit on a cozy couch in a coffee shop and talk with friends and family¬†for hours. I want a life where I can get dolled¬†up for fancy events and then go to Taco Bell¬†in a ball gown. I want to eat bread and cheese and drink wine around a table full of both old¬†and new friends. I want a kitchen that constantly smells of homemade cookies and always has treats for unexpected visitors. Someday, I want a husband¬†that I can smother with affection and messy kids running around the house and a wrap-around porch and¬†a big comfy swing made for quality time with family. I want a life full of more love and less worry. And “I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift”.

This is my joy and I encourage you to find yours.

‚̧ Michelle

*Thank you to my sister for letting me put my thoughts into writing. Thankful that you are the compass to my anchor. Love you always.


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