Sunday, April 15, 2012

Searching For Joy

This year, our church community is celebrating the whole season of Easter. Instead of living in the joy of the resurrection for just one day, we're collectively, purposefully pursuing joy and life and laughter for 40 days (yes, I know that believers are supposed to celebrate Jesus every day, but we're all broken and life is hard, so it doesn't really happen that way).

40 days of joy. 

I absolutely love this idea. I've committed to find at least one thing per day that brings or spreads joy and post it here along with others in the Skyline community. But the thing I'm finding is that its not as easy as it sounds. It turns out that embracing joy every. single. day. is a discipline that has to be practiced with determination and perserverance.  

I don't often make a conscious decision to enjoy my life. If you asked me a week ago, I would've quickly said that my life is full of joy. But now I'm seven days into a process of identifying specific areas of joy and, to be honest, it's a daily struggle. I really have to think about it some days.

Sometimes joy is hard to find.

Most days, it eludes me. It hides away behind the muck of the daily grind and then disappears like a shadow at dusk. When circumstances are particularly difficult and my future seems fuzzy and unstable, I dig around in my heart and all I find is worry. Sometimes, my selective eyes only see the people around me who have it all together, who know what they're doing on this planet and have a steady job that pays more than enough, and all I find is envy. 

But this little exercise has been so good for my heart. I'm learning that joy has to be searched for when life seems blurry, and I may have to squint to see it. I have to dig for it in the mundane, the difficult, the gray places. When I truly search for it, I always find it, and somehow it transcends and transforms the shades of gray into the brilliant, beautiful colors of life. The life we were meant to fully experience and relish. 

Instead of waiting for joy to come to me, I have to go after it. Hunt for it. Fight for it. 

No matter what. 

Joy is what makes our lives beautiful.  

How are you finding joy?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More Baby Steps

So, I'm really good at consistent blogging (sarcasm).

Since my last post, I've had some really encouraging things happen in my writing journey...

  • I got some great feedback from several contest judges, and even finaled in a contest.
  • I joined ACFW.
  • I attended my first mini-conference and learned a TON, and I met some awesome writers.
  • I've continued learning online as part of the My Book Therapy community.
  • I joined my local writing chapter (OCFW) and have absolutely loved it. I just feel like I've found the perfect place to belong, and I've been given a mentor (she's amazing!) to help me along in my journey.
  • I started a new story and I've set a goal of writing 20,000 words by the end of this month.
  • I entered the first scene of my new story in the Frasier Contest.

As you can see, I'm continuing to take baby steps. It's so tempting to try to rush ahead and get farther, faster. But I have bathed this journey in prayer from the beginning, and I know that God is leading me at the perfect pace. I trust Him to open the right doors at the right time, so I'm going to close my eyes, hang on to His hand, and enjoy the ride. At least, I'm going to try. :-)