Don’t Settle

Okay, so here I go with another somewhat delayed musing.  If you haven’t noticed by now, I like to let my writings sit for awhile, I like to let them marinate for a bit before I share them.  I believe this particular topic is something that every single person has struggled with at some point in their lives.  I truly hope that it resonates with you.

 

I’ve had somewhat of an epiphany, you might say.  I recently had a not-so-great day at work.  And it dawned on me (for the 100th time in the five years that I’ve been here) that this place, this work, does not bring me joy.  In fact, it goes beyond that and actually detracts from my overall happiness.  Now, I know we all have bad days at work, along with a lot of good days.  And most of the time we just have to push through it, make the best of the day, and do what we can to make the next day a better one.

But as some of my Facebook friends started weighing in on my question of “what do you do when you realize/know that deep down, your work doesn’t bring you joy, but rather, detracts from it,” something stirred inside of me at some of their responses.  Most people responded that work isn’t meant to bring us joy.  That it’s just a means to an end.  I agree that for many people, their job is simply a way to pay the bills—most of my own jobs have been just that.  But I have also encountered people that love what they do for a living.

When did we become okay with just settling?  When did we develop the mentality that we shouldn’t enjoy how we make a living?  Most of us will spend the majority of our time, the majority of our lives working—shouldn’t we enjoy that time as much as we can since we give so much of ourselves to it?  Now, I realize that sometimes we just absolutely have to do a job that we don’t necessary like in order to make sure the bills get paid, in order to provide for our families.  But even in that situation, shouldn’t we be allowed to aspire to something better, especially when that realization hits us?

I think we deserve more than we settle for.  I think we owe it to ourselves to not keep ourselves in an environment that breeds misery and discontent.  Now, I am not advocating that we all go quit our jobs after a rough day.  Sometimes it is just a rough day.  But when it becomes a pattern, I encourage you to look at the cause – maybe it’s your overall environment and maybe it’s God’s way of preparing you for a change.  If you find yourself in a situation where you know you need a change, start doing things in order to prepare for a new and better opportunity.  Don’t settle.  We all deserve better than we are willing to give ourselves.  We are worth happiness.  We are worth joy.  It matters.  You matter.  I matter.  Don’t settle for less than what God has intended for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

 

ten years from now

Advertisements

Finding the Joy

This is something I wrote a couple of months ago, but have never shared yet.  Joy is something I keep coming back to and thinking on in my daily life.  It’s something I’ve heard others in my life talking about lately, too.  So I think I am finally ready to share my somewhat outdated writings on joy.  I pray that it might help you in your journey to finding joy as well.

 

It’s easy to let this world bring you down.  To let people and circumstances that are beyond your control get in your head and make you feel less than you are.  I’m a perfectionist.  I take things personally.  I am hard on myself.  But when I really stop to think why it is so easy to feel so downtrodden in this world, I realize it’s because as children of God, we are not of this world.  I am not of this world.  It’s not my permanent home…it was never meant to be.  Maybe this is why I never really feel at home no matter where I am.  Maybe it’s why we feel like the grass is always greener on the other side.  When I think about it in these terms, it all makes a little more sense.

Often times we spend all of our time looking forward.  To the weekend, to our next vacation, to whatever the next big event is on our calendar.  Or, we spend time looking back.  Thinking of friends and family who are no longer with us, remembering how good life was before wherever we are currently.  I am guilty on both accounts.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with planning ahead and being excited for what’s to come or reflecting on fond memories.  But both of these things do become problematic if it is all we do.  If all we ever do is either look forward or look back, how can we be present in this moment?  And if we’re not present in the moment, it’s impossible to find the joy in the now.  Because the now is just as important as what is coming and what has been.  Maybe even more important, because the now will someday be what has been.  And tomorrow’s now is the very thing we are looking forward to.

Unless we are present in the here and now, we cannot find joy in where we are currently.  And after all, that is where we spend most of our time.  There truly is beauty all around us, all the time.  Some days we just have to fight harder than others to find it.  And that’s okay, because nothing ever worth having is easy, right?  Today, the sun is out and as it lands on my shoulders, it warms me up from the inside out.  It finally feels like spring and the warmth fills me with the hope of new growth.  I hear a familiar old song on the radio and smile at the memories it brings to the surface.  Today I found joy in a plethora of things all because of the warm sunshine. It was the spark that I needed to open my eyes to all of the good things around me.  Some days, joy comes to us.  But on other days, most days maybe, we have to fight to find joy.  But the fight is worth it.  It’s okay to be in a bad mood every once in a while…we aren’t perfect, we were never meant to be.  But don’t wallow in it for long.  Pull yourself up and look at whatever it is from the other side.

It’s amazing what a little bit of sunshine and a warm day can do.  I can’t promise to always be this positive.  Something I’ve learned along the way is that when you find the joy, when you have those moments that make you smile, make you feel that everything is worth it—hold on to them.  Hold on to them and bottle them up for the days when it’s hard to find the joy.  Because nothing lasts forever.

choose joy